SC/ST activists criticized reservation for economically weaker divisions: The Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities are in the real benefit as the constitution of our country gives them reservation quotas. It was in the era of 50s where the people of India were biased. Today, where world is moving on the track of equity, some people in our country are still figuring-out to pull the sleepers under the track.
Activists and intellects of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities criticised the government for putting forward quotas for the economically weaker sections, charging the move in contradiction with Constitution.
The activists said the basis of reservation was inequality that was practiced in the past and negligence, not poverty. “Reservation is not a poverty alleviation programme. It is a question of representation of people who have been denied that in institutions for millennia. This move is obnoxious and a political stunt,” said Vivek Kumar, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
The chairman of the National Confederation of Dalit Organisations, Ashok Bharti, opposed that forward castes are not neglected at any level of government than backward casts are. He said, “Giving people who are represented more than their share of population is not in line with the spirit of the Constitution. This is clear violation of the Constitution and an appeasement of upper castes.”
The ruling BJP has been combating Dalit anger over a number of matters — the 2016 suicide of PhD student Rohith Vemula, the Dalit men getting beaten in Gujarat’s Una , the violence at Bhima Koregaon in 2018, and the dilution of the SC/ST Act by the Supreme Court.
Manjula Pradeep, an activist from Gujarat accused the current government that it wants to please forward castes. He said, “The government wants to please forward castes. It also shows their bias towards the marginalised communities as they are more concerned about poor forward castes.”
Ramesh Nathan, general secretary of the National Dalit Movement for Justice said that adding communities to the quota pie hurt communal justice. He added that old demand by some sections of the Muslim and Christian communities to get SC grade was not regarded in spite of constant appeals. “The government wants to pacify upper castes that is why they have proposed this.”
Activists also opposed that poor people also exist in SC, ST and OBC categories. If economic backwardness is the factor then further quotas should be given to them as well. “The government’s move is unjust and it has just proved it is pro-upper caste in its thought,” said Grace Banu, a Tamil Nadu-based transgender and Dalit rights activist.