Atrocities act should be scrapped: Shalinitai Patil

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Nagpur, Nov 13 (UNI) Former Maharashtra Revenue Minister Shalinitai Patil today demanded the scrapping of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, alleging that it had become a 'means of blackmail.' Speaking to reporters here, Ms Patil said the act was being misused. There had been several instances where the provisions of the Act were used to target certain people, and later the cases was 'settled' out of the court for a 'consideration', she said.

''All the residents of an entire village in my own constituency were booked under the Act after they tried to prevent a drunkard from creating nuisance during a religious ceremony. There was no action against the miscreant,'' Ms Patil said. The Act had become outdated, and hence ought to be repealed forthwith, she said.

It was unfortunate that a person got an official certificate, stating him to be from a certain caste, but no individual could describe him as belonging to that group, Ms Patil, who represents Koregaon (district Satara) in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, said, adding that this was a paradox and should be stopped.

Ms Patil said her outfit, Kranti Sena, had now been registered as a political party and would contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections from the state. ''As of now, we plan to contest 20 to 25 LS seats and about 125 LA seats, barring those which came under Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. ''The number could go up once we make an assessment of our position and strengths in Vidarbha,'' she said.

The Akhil Bharatiya Chhava Maratha Yuva Sanghatan (ABCMYS) had extended full support to the Kranti Sena, and the two would contest the elections together, she said.

Reiterating her demand for scrapping of reservations on the basis of caste and providing them to the economically backward, Ms Patil said the policy of reservation had forced talented youth to go abroad, causing great harm to the country.

The first convention of the Kranti Sena and the fifth convention of the ABCMYS would be held jointly at Aurangabad on December 2 next, she added.

ABCMYS president Annasaheb Jawle-Patil, who was also present at the press conference, demanded that wards of debt-ridden farmers, who had committed suicides, in Vidarbha should be given government jobs.

Later, a group of Dalit activists raised slogans at Tilak Patrakar Bhawan, the venue of the press conference, against Ms Patil for her alleged remarks against Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

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