January 18, 2020 4:44:25 am
In a development that is likely to cause friction between women job aspirants from reserved communities and those from unreserved communities, around 300 women from unreserved communities who had taken the Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) recruitment examination, have come out in support of a general resolution (GR) of the General Administration Department (GAD).
The GR — dated August 1, 2018 — restricts women from reserved communities to compete with women of the unreserved communities in the open competition category, within the 33% women reservation.
The women from unreserved communities, on Friday, submitted a memorandum to the Chairman of Gujarat State Commission for Unreserved Classes (GSCUC) Hansraj Gajera, in support of the 2018 GR, demanding that it should not be canceled under any circumstances.
The women have come out against close to 30 women candidates from the reserved communities — Other Backward Class (OBC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) — who have been protesting at Satyagrah Chhavni in Gandhinagar for nearly 40 days, seeking the cancellation of the 2018 GR. The latter believe that the GR is against the spirit of the reservation policy and has created reserved quota exclusively for women of unreserved communities, in violation of the constitutional provisions. A number of MPs and MLAs from Gujarat have written to the state government in support of the women from the reserved communities.
“This GR is only a clarification of an earlier GR of 1997 regarding women’s reservation. It does not bring anything new. Women of reserved communities are protesting without understanding this. We do not want to take anything from their reservation, we only want our right,” said Pooja Patel (25), a native of Zakhora village of Mehsana.
Another Pooja Patel (25) from Visnagar of Mehsana, said, “We (women of unreserved category) have been losing government jobs. For the first time, the government is doing something for us and it is being opposed by women of reserved communities.”
Acting on a set of petitions, a single judge bench of the Gujarat High Court (HC) had, in November 2019, approved the policy of the state government under the provisions of the 2018 GR. The bench’s order has been challenged before a division bench, which is scheduled to hear the appeal for final disposal on February 5.
Following the implementation of the GR of 2018, the merit of women from unreserved communities has been lower than the merit of some of the members of reserved communities, in the recruitment of several government jobs including the LRD.
Bhavika Bhavsar (35) from Ahmedabad said, “Earlier, the marks of general category used to remain higher than the reserved categories. At that time, we did not oppose. Then why do they (women of reserved categories) oppose us now? This GR of 2018 must not be cancelled and if it has to be, then let us scrap the reservation policy completely.”
In their representation before the GSCUC chairman, the women have stated that the reserved communities attain their goal by making representations of injustice being done to them and creating illegal pressure.
The women are being supported by leaders of social organisations such as Sardar Patel Group (SPG) and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). Purvin Patel from SPG and Dinesh Bambhaniya from PAAS have been instrumental in bringing the women together in support of the 2018 GR.
Purvin said that these women have been losing out on government jobs due to the policy being implemented before the 2018 GR. “It results in a situation where the women of unreserved communities do not have representation in government jobs. Even the HC has approved the GR,” Purvin said.
Before the 2018 GR, women of reserved category used to be selected on merit in the open competition category. Bambhaniya said, “The demand to cancel the 2018 GR is not proper. We support the GR and if it is canceled, we will do an agitation.”
Notably, SPG and PAAS are the two organisations which played a key role in the Patidar reservation agitation of 2015.
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