Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut today accused social activist Anna Hazare for passing the buck to the government for resolving the caste tensions and not doing anything on the issue.
Addressing a press conference, Raut who visited Ahmednagar district where a Dalit boy became victim of honour killing in Kharda village of Jamkhed taluka recently, said the incident happened a few kilometres away from Hazare's village.
"However, Hazare has not uttered a word about easing caste tensions," Raut, a Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) minister charged.
"I heard that he said that eradication of caste is the state government's responsibility. If that is indeed the case, then even eradication of corruption is supposed to be the government's job of the government. Why did Hazare have to agitate?" he said.
Raut said that caste tensions and honour killings were a blot on a progressive state like Maharashtra and the need of the hour was to ensure that all political and social activists join hands to find a solution to these problems.
"I will raise the matter this week in the cabinet and call for a caste free village campaign to promote social harmony," he said.
In Kharda, Nitin Aage, a 12th standard student belonging to backward caste, was allegedly brutally killed by the brother and friends of an upper caste girl recently.
In Ahmednagar district, villagers in Chincholi did not allow cremation of a woman belonging to a lower caste. Last year, three Dalit youths were killed over a love affair with an upper caste girl, he said.
"So many incidents keep happening in Ahmednagar district, but Hazare has chosen to keep quiet," Raut said.
During his visit to Belad in Malkapur taluka of Buldhana district, he said that he ensured that upper caste people had lifted their social boycott of lower castes.
Raut said that caste tensions tend to rise during Ambedkar Jayanti processions, controversy over crematorium, drinking water, discrimination at public distribution schemes as well as other occasions.
He demanded that not only should the Atrocities Act be implemented strictly, but villages with recurring incidents of caste violence should also be declared as "Dalit atrocities affected" and development funds must be denied to them.