Newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani on Friday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for keeping silent about the caste clash in Maharashtra, which has been raging since January 2 and has wreaked havoc throughout the state.
One person was killed, over 50 vehicles were torched and public property was damaged in the violence between Dalits and Marathas. The police have detained 300 people till now and 16 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered over the incidents.
Mewani, against whom the Pune Police registered an FIR for allegedly inciting the violence, took a swipe at Modi, and asked him to clear his stand on the Bhima-Koregaon issue.
"The prime minister is a self-proclaimed follower of Dr BR Ambedkar. Why is he silent? Why are Dalit events like the one in Pune attacked? Why are Dalits not secure in India? We want to know if he has any commitment to the annihilation of caste...which was Ambedkar's ultimate goal," said Mewani.
He even said he would ask Modi to choose between Manusmriti (ancient Hindu text) and the Constitution -- drafted by a committee headed by mbedkar himself -- at a rally in the national capital on January 9.
"On January 9, I will hold the Constitution in one hand and Manu Smiriti in other hand and would like to ask Modi whether this country runs on the Constitution or the Manu Smriti," Mevani said.
This is hardly the first time Modi has been criticised for remaining mum on critical issues such as the recent communal violence in Maharashtra.
On January 3, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also took a dig at Modi for his apparent silence on the violence.
Earlier, Modi was condemned for his silence, regarding the several incidents of violence by cow vigilantes, specially the Una flogging, where Dalits were on the receiving end. It was only in July 2017 that Modi spoke out against cow vigilantism, saying: "Killing people in the name of protecting cows is not acceptable".
In another incident, Congress leader Pawan Khera criticised Modi about his inaction against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh over the Panama Papers issue.
"The prime minister speaks at length on corruption, but ignores Panama paper leaks. (On Saturday Congress vice- president) Rahul Gandhi mentioned about Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh's son and Lok Sabha MP Abhishek. His (Abhishek Singh's) name appeared in the Panama Papers, (but) what action have you taken in this regard," Khera said.
Meanwhile, Mewani also denied making any provocative comments and this inciting violence in Maharashtra.