Dalit group opposes quota for converts

18 September, The Hindu
New Delhi (PTI): A group espousing the protection of Dalit right to reservations on Thursday opposed UPA government’s proposal to give SC quota to those Dalits who converted to Christianity or Islam saying it would deprive SC Hindus the benefits of reservation.

The Anusuchit Jati Arakshan Adhikar Bachao Manch will hold a rally here on September 21 to register its protest and has invited leaders cutting across party lines to the rally to ask the government against any move to include Christian and Muslim Dalits in the SC reservation quota of 15 percent.

¶The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission report, which was submitted in 2007, suggests that reservation should be given under the SC category to those Dalits who converted to Christianity or Islam….I think the Commission was formed with a political motive,¶ the Forum’s national convenor Ram Nath Kovind said at a press conference.

Kovind said Mishra Commission’s suggestion is meant to serve Congress party as it hopes to get the support of converted Dalits after losing the traditional Dalit vote bank to leaders like Mayawati and Ram Vilas Paswan.

Enumerating the ¶flaws¶ in the Mishra Commission report, Kovind said while suggesting reservations for Dalit converts it does not mention any cut-off date for conversions, thus widening its scope.

The Dalit leader said SC population had increased to around 18 percent now though the reservation for Dalits is only 15 percent.

Including Dalit converts would further deprive the Hindu SC population of the benefits of reservations, he said.


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