Gujarat Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Atmaram Parmar has asked officials of his department not to use the word ‘Dalit’ and replace it with ‘Scheduled Castes’ while drafting and issuing any official communication in the future.
Parmar, a prominent Dalit face of the BJP dispensation in Gujarat, claimed that this change was necessary to avoid any confusion while communicating with the Centre. He also said the word Dalit was no longer preferred by the community, as several representations have been made, urging the government to avoid using the word in official communications, such as circulars, orders and notifications.
“Centre does not use Dalit in its official communication. They use Scheduled Castes. Many a times, it happens that we send a communication having the word Dalit in it. That creates confusion, as Dalit is not the official word,” Parmar told PTI.
“Thus, to avoid any confusion, I have directed my officials not to use Dalit in any of the future communications, be it with the Centre or with other state departments or with public. I have asked them to use Scheduled Castes instead of Dalit,” said Parmar.
According to Parmar, many members of the community have also protested against the use of that word and made representation to replace it with the term Scheduled Castes. “In the recent past, many people of the community made their representation and asked the government to stop using the word Dalit. They argued that it reveals their identity among others in the society,” the minister said.
“To end discrimination, (Mahatma) Gandhiji coined a word which was then replaced by the word Dalit following protests in the past. Now, this word Dalit is also not preferred by the community. Thus, we have decided to replace it with Scheduled Castes in our official communications,” he said.