In the backdrop of suicide of a Dalit research scholar in Hyderabad University, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Ramdas Athawale today demanded that members of the community be allowed to possess firearms given a "vertical rise" in incidents of "atrocities" against them.
The Republican Party of India-Athavale leader also said that after the suicide, the party's alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party is only political in nature and there are no similarities in ideologies.
He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "immediately sack" Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya amid allegations that his letter to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani in August last year claiming that the university had become a "den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics" led to suspension of Rohith Vemula and four others.
"Cases of atrocities against the Dalit community are rising by the day and the perpetrators are not being booked. In such a scenario, it has now become imperative that government takes extreme steps to protect the community.
"We demand that the government issue licences to Dalits so that they can possess firearms. This way they can at least protect themselves and their families," the Dalit leader told reporters.
The RPI-A is a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the state and at the Centre.
"After the suicide, our alliance with the BJP is only political in nature and there are no similarities in (our) ideologies. We demand that Dattatreya resign from his position and if not, the prime minister should sack him immediately," he said.