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Delhi govt relents,chuhra dropped from caste papers

Following protests from members of the Valmiki community regarding the use of the word ‘chuhra’ in caste certificates,the Delhi government on Monday decided to stop referring to the sub-caste in official documents.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
July 26, 2011 1:29:03 am

Following protests from members of the Valmiki community regarding the use of the word ‘chuhra’ in caste certificates,the Delhi government on Monday decided to stop referring to the sub-caste in official documents.

More than a hundred people had gathered at Rajghat on July 15 to protest the use of the word,stating that the word was derogatory to their community. They said the Deputy Commissioner’s office had restarted using the term since May 2011,after issuing certificates in the name of the ‘Valmiki community’ for nearly 10 years.

In a Cabinet meeting on Monday,Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said all ministers had expressed concern over the usage of the term,and the direction would come into effect immediately. A communication has also been sent to the Union Home Ministry to amend the Act in this regard.

Members of the community said the term fuels discrimination in schools and workplaces. Balkrishan Mahar,president,Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat,said,“These certificates are needed when applying for jobs,besides acquiring basic amenities such as admission in schools. Our children are often told in schools that they don’t deserve to be educated because they are from the ‘chuhra’ caste. We have been fighting against discrimination for so long,but the government seems to be furthering it.”

Mahar said as many as 20 lakh people from the Valmiki community stay in Delhi alone.

Some people,such as Prithvi Singh,even refused to take the certificate issued to him. Singh,who is the pradhan of the Harijan Basti,said,“The issue pertains to basic respect. We want to live in society as equals but things like this don’t allow us to do so.”

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