Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday met Dalit leaders over implementation of internal reservation for Scheduled Castes as recommended by the 2012 Justice Sadashiva Commission Report. “We will study the Justice Sadashiva Commission Report and take necessary action,” the CM said after meeting activists, campaigning for its implementation, and senior Dalit leaders from the Congress, who have been favouring release of the report.
In the run up to the Karnataka Assembly elections earlier this year, the JD(S) had said it was “committed to implement” the commission’s report.
The meeting comes just a day after N Mahesh, a prominent Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party’s lone minister exited the JDS-Congress government in the state. Mahesh’s resignation reportedly had triggered fears of alienation of Dalit votes in forthcoming polls in the southern state.
The Justice A J Sadashiva Commission Report – set up by a Congress-JDS coalition in 2005 – had looked into methods of equitable distribution of reservation facilities and recommended internal reservation for various castes under the Scheduled Castes (SCs) category. It took into account the backwardness within the community and the lack of development of a section categorized as left Dalits when compared to a more prosperous right Dalit group.
The 2012 report was considered unscientific in some political quarters and was cast aside by the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state.
The Siddaramaiah government had preferred a fresh socio-economic survey of castes, but in the end did not reveal the details of the fresh survey despite leaked reports suggesting that the survey had identified Dalits as the single largest community in the state with a very backward section.
The incumbent JDS-Congress government is now being pressured by Dalit groups to implement the 2012 commission report.
“Implementation of the Justice A J Sadashiva Commission Report has been one of the primary demands of the left Dalit group,” a Madiga – left Dalit – youth leader B Nagaraj said.
Prior to his resignation on Thursday, N Mahesh had accused the Congress, JDS and BJP of not doing enough for the development of the most-backward sections of society.
The Sadashiva commission was constituted to ascertain whether there were any discrepancies in the distribution of reservation benefits for Scheduled Castes. It was set up following complaints by the most-backward communities among the Scheduled Castes that some castes had cornered the reservation benefits at the cost of others.
The commission recommended internal reservations for scheduled castes within the 15 per cent reservations for Dalits in government jobs – with six per cent reserved for the most-backward left Dalits, five per cent for right Dalits, three per cent for touchable castes and one per cent for others.