Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for protecting Dalits and said if the country has to progress, peace, unity and harmony can't be neglected.
Addressing a meeting of BJP's booth-level workers of Telangana here, he said discrimination will not be allowed and warned that the "country and the world will not forgive us".
He also called for putting an end to politicising the caste issue and alleged that some parties which considered Dalits as their vote bank and afraid of the initiatives taken by his government, were trying to raise such issues by somehow influencing Dalits.
"I would like to tell these people that if you have any problem, if you have attack, attack me. Stop attacking my Dalit brethren. If you have to shoot, shoot me, but not my Dalit brothers. This game should stop," he said addressing BJP workers here.
He turned emotional while addressing thousands of party workers at L. B. Stadium.
This was the second time during his day-long speech that Modi spoke about the recent attacks on Dalits.
Modi's comments come at a time when the NDA government is facing flak over incidents of violence against Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilantes in various states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Modi said at times some incidents come to notice which give us "unbearable pain". "It should be our responsibility to save and respect them (Dalits)," he said without referring to any particular incident.
Earlier, in his speech at a public meeting at Gajwel in Medak district, Modi asked called for isolating and punishing fake "gau rakshaks (cow protectors)", saying they were out to destroy the social fabric.
At the meeting in Hyderabad, he devoted a major part of his speech to the attacks on Dalits. His remarks were in an obvious reference to the flogging of four Dalits by cow vigilantes in Gujarat's Una town on July 11.
"Sometimes some incidents come to light which make heads hang in shame," he said and described such incidents as sin against humanity.
He told BJP workers that it was their responsibility to protect Dalits and other oppressed sections of the society.
Modi described caste discrimination as an evil which crept into society thousands of years ago. "We have to admit that even 70 years after Independence some shortfalls and evils are there in society and they get manifested in such incidents," he said.
"Is there any reason that we treat our Dalit brothers this way. What right we have to make these sections suffer when they are sufferings for centuries," he asked.
Modi made it clear that discrimination on the basis of language and caste will not be allowed.
"We talk of whole universe one family but we can't make Dalit brothers our own," said the PM
He said the BJP workers who were working for unity of the society and the country would have to expose such people.
Terming caste discrimination as a social problem, Modi said it was his request to all those who want a solution to give up politics of dividing the society. "This is a social problem. The more we politicize it, the more it gets complicated."