Lucknow, Nov 21 (IANS) The National Commission for Scheduled Castes Sunday rejected the Uttar Pradesh government's claims of bringing down incidents of violence against Dalits, terming them 'baseless and misleading'.
The commission's newly-appointed chairman P.L. Punia said the state government released figures of only the first six months of this year, and atrocities against Dalits had actually registered a steep rise over the three-and-a-half year rule of Bahujan Samaj Party, according to statistics by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Punia further accused the government of diverting funds meant for Dalit welfare programmes.
'Construction of four medical colleges at Saharanpur, Azamgarh, Kannauj and Jalaun was being carried out with the diverted money', he said.
Punia said the government's move of reserving 70 percent of seats in these colleges has been disallowed by the Medical Council of India.
He also gave the state government a deadline to furnish correct details on welfare schemes.
'November 30 is the deadline I have fixed for these details, after which I will convene a hearing with the concerned officials,' he said.
Punia, a bureaucrat turned Congress MP from Barabanki, was once part of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's inner circle.
He served as the principal secretary to the chief minister twice, but later fell out with her. He switched loyalties to her arch rival Mulayam Singh Yadav, before joining the Congress.