New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) The Congress today condemned the police action against Dalit youth and demanded the immediate release of those who had been arrested under false charges and the withdrawal of cases against them.

Congress SC Department chairman Nitin Raut alleged the “anti-Dalit face of the BJP” was exposed by the “revengeful action” against those who participated in a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on April 2.

“The Congress Party condemns all forms of violence by anti-social elements in the peaceful agitation. The SC department of Congress strongly condemns the brutal police action against innocent Dalit youths and demands the immediate release of those arrested in false cases,” he said.

Raut also called for the immediate arrest of those who had killed Dalit youth “staging a peaceful agitation” against the dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

“We further demand that the cases registered against innocent Dalit be withdrawn immediately,” he said in a statement.

Raut said as political vendetta in the states where the BJP is in power, BJP leaders and workers were providing to the police names of Dalit youth who are workers of Congress and other parties, and the police was “picking them at night and slapping false cases against them”.

He claimed women and children were being picked up from their houses at night. “The youth have fled their houses to avoid police torture,” Raut said.

In the statement, Raut claimed the police in BJP-ruled states were not looking into who had killed the Dalits in the agitation.

“Instead, the police which seem to be controlled from the states’ BJP office is taking action against innocent Dalits.

“In BJP ruled states, the anti-Dalit face of the BJP stands exposed by their revengeful action,” it said.

The statement claimed Dalit youth arrested were being beaten up by the police.

“The police and the government have never taken such repressive and revengeful action against participants of any other agitation,” it said.

At least 11 people were killed and hundreds injured in violence across several states during the nationwide bandh.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.