March 20, 2021 5:43:54 am
A Bill to modify the list of scheduled castes in Tamil Nadu by grouping of seven castes which presently exist as separate castes was passed by Lok Sabha on Friday.
Moving the The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Minister for Social Justice Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot said seven sub-castes would be encompassed under Devendrakula Vellalar with the exclusion of the Kadian community in certain listed districts. “No caste is being added or deleted. These seven castes would be regrouped,” he said, adding that the old caste certificates would not be removed.
He said manual scavenging has decreased in the country and the budget has allocated funds for helping caste-based schemes.
BSP’s Girish Chandra said the castes should have been added to OBC category rather than the SC list and that the Bill should have gone to a select committee. It should be understood why a community wants to be out of the SC category, he said.
Amar Singh of the Congress said this demand has been there for a long time but has come up now because of elections in Tamil Nadu.
Imtiaz Jaleel from the AIMIM said he wanted to open the eyes of those who say the society is functioning better. Citing NCRB data, he said more than 35,000 cases of crimes against SC/STs were registered in 2019 and added that the crimes have increased since then. He also cited that 65.9 per cent of prisoners are from SC/ST and OBC communities.
He said that the government in Gujarat is removing Adivasi villages to build tourism projects and mentioned the Narmada movement. He also cited a high percentage of vacancies in reservations in central ministries and universities.
“Why this society after 70 years we are still debating what Baba Saheb Ambedkar had told us that we shouldn’t do this in society. Is this not society’s responsibility?,” he asked.
Gurjeet Singh Aujila of the Congress said the government must end manual scavenging and mob lynching and increase share to scholarship schemes to help protect SC/ST communities.
BJP’s Sunita Duggal from Haryana said the Devendrakula Vellalar people were a cultivator and warrior clan and were mentioned in Tamil Sangam literature. They initiate all temple car pullings and this community even owned land and voted during the British Raj, she said. But, she added, they have been subject to “degradation and humiliation”.
BJP’s Umesh Jadhav from Karnataka said: “This is not just a change in the name. There is evidence in history of their name … It has been a demand for 5-6 decades from Dalit movement to change the nomenclature of the caste … which would give them honour, dignity.”
G Madhavi of YSRCP said the Bill addresses “a longstanding demand” and highlighted the Andhra Pradesh government’s programmes for the SC community.
Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale sought similar favourable action in granting reservation to the Maratha community in Maharashtra.
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