Govt plays caste card, but without checking facts

Naqvi says MoS Jyoti is a Dalit, Opposition reminds him he’s wrong

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published: December 6, 2014 3:42 am
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and other BJP MPs protested at the same spot against the Congress. (Source: Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey) Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and other BJP MPs protested at the same spot against the Congress. (Source: Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

With the opposition keeping up pressure on the issue of MoS Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s “ramzaadon” versus “haramzaadon” remark, the BJP seems to be playing the caste card to get the Parliamentary proceedings back on track. In the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi criticised the opposition for not accepting the apologies of a Dalit woman.

Interestingly, Jyoti’s caste — Nishad/Mallah — is not included in the list of schedule castes for Uttar Pradesh, the state from which she was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha. Jyoti won from Fatehpur Lok Sabha constituency, which is in the general pool. The list for UP, available on the website of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, includes 66 castes categorised as SCs in the state. Nishads do not figure in that list. The state had in 2013 moved a proposal to include 17 new castes in the SC list, including Nishads, but that has not been notified till date. Currently, Nishads in UP are in the OBC list. The caste is not included in the SC list in Naqvi’s home state of Bihar either.

However, in Delhi, Mallahs are on the list.

On Friday, even as the deputy chairman maintained that allowing a condemnation resolution is the prerogative of the government, Naqvi sought to use the Dalit card to resolve the imbroglio. “… A Dalit woman came here, expressed her regrets, sought forgiveness. Even after that, arrogance and anarchy that is on display… the way they are stalling House proceedings… there are issues that concern the country, issues of development…”

Incidentally, the opposition joint statement on a condemnation motion on hate speeches was signed, among others, by BSP chief Mayawati, whose party has always sought to position itself as the protector of Dalit interests.

“BJP is saying that she is a Dalit woman and this is untrue. The minister neither belongs to the Dalit community, nor does she hail from scheduled caste community. She is from the backward Nishad caste,” Mayawati said. Other Dalit leaders, too, slammed the PM over his statement that Jyoti’s statement should be seen keeping her background in mind. “Maybe Naqvi was confused, maybe the caste is listed in the SC list in his own state Bihar. But I take strong objection to the PM’s statement that her background should be kept in mind. It is derogatory, an attempt to run her down. It is not in good taste, does not behove the PM of the country,” said Congress MP Kumari Selja.

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  1. P
    Prem Kumar
    Dec 6, 2014 at 9:09 am
    While preaching government on checking facts, the reporter/writer of this article also did not check his facts. UP and not Bihar is the home state of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Naqvi has nothing to do with Bihar. The BJP leader who belongs to Bihar is Shanawaz Hussein.
    1. K
      Dec 6, 2014 at 1:36 am
      I support the current govt but not on this issue. She did not represent civilized society with those utterances. Throw her out of party and send the signal that you actually mean to create a better india. Otherwise it won't take much time for the public love affair to fade away and become past.there should be no place for such hooliganism.
      1. S
        Dec 6, 2014 at 6:21 am
        There is a vernacular saying that to cover one lie we need to come up with another 1000... This is an ideal case in point. Calling Muslims Haramzadon was bad enough. If the BJP believes in Vasudaiva Kutumbakam then those Haramzadon are our family members. Oops 1. To suggest as the PM did that her background should excuse her is oops 2. Saying she is a Dalit is oops at 2 levels. One as a Sanyasin she has renounced caste which any real Hindu ought to know. Two, as pointed out, in her poorvashram she was not Dalit.Mr PM, please put a stop to this farce and drop her. The country needs you to lead when so many large issues are pending. Standing on ego or protecting the Sangh's interests are with due respect secondary to national interest. That you are a resolute PM can be proven in more apposite cirstances. For now please follow Chanakya Neethi and accept discretion as the better part of valour.You have shown great statesmanship on the issue of the land swap going against your party for the greater good of the country. This actually is a great chance for you to further your position as the custodian of the nation's interests above the party's or the Sangh's.
        1. Vivek Gautam
          Dec 6, 2014 at 5:07 am
          Who has made Abantika a journalist as she is stating a blatant lie on home state of Naqvi is Bihar.He is from Rampur UP while Shahnawaz hussain the ex MP is from Bihar. IE is going to dogs it seems with such distortion of facts n poor quality of journalists on their rolls.Entire article has gone for toss post such blatant lack of homework.