Bhopal, Aug 7 Blaming casteism for the recent incidents of atrocities against Dalits in the country, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale today said intercaste marriages should be encouraged for better integration of the society.
"I feel the government's encouragement money to the couple marrying outside the caste should be enhanced," the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and RPI (A) leader said.
"Central government's intercaste marriage encouragement money, Rs 2.50 lakh now, should be increased to Rs 5 lakh. I am going to take up this issue," said Athawale, a prominent Dalit leader from Maharashtra, speaking to reporters here.
The district with maximum number of intercaste marriages should be given Rs 10 crore by way of grant, he said.
"The politicking over the recent attacks on Dalits should end. Rather emphasis should be laid on eliminating casteism. I strongly feel that intercaste marriage is the answer to the casteism which was the cause of recent violence against Dalits," he said.
Flogging of some Dalit youths at Una in Gujarat by cow vigilantes had sparked nation-wide protest last month. Athawale also said he favoured reservations for the poor among the upper castes too.
"I am going to talk to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue," he said. Scholarship for the reserved category students should be increased, he said.
"It ranges from Rs 250 to Rs 1200. I feel Rs 250 is too small now. I am going raise the issue at the appropriate forum," the Minister said.