Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday responded to the Opposition on recent attacks against Dalits and said data shows that such violence against the community has reduced after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014. Singh said, “I do not want to go into state-wise figures on crimes against Dalits, but overall figures show that in 2013 the cases of violence against Dalits were 39,346, which rose to 40,300 in 2014 and came down again (after the NDA took over) in 2015 to 38,564,” The Hindu reported.

The Union minister also said he had directed the states to take stricter action against “anti-social elements” including cow vigilante groups, and anybody who attacked members of the Dalit community. However, he also asked Opposition parties not to politicise such crimes. “There should be no politics over this issue. We should take it as a challenge to end this injustice,” he said.

The debate on the issue lasted around five hours in the Lok Sabha, with the Opposition alleging there had been an increase in atrocities against Dalits, and that the community has seen no improvement or upliftment after the National Democratic Alliance came to power.

The discussion followed recent instances of attacks against Dalits, including an incident in Una, Gujarat, where four Dalits were assaulted for skinning a dead cow.