Dalits and Tribals apprehensive of the Lokpal

Published: November 29, 2011 - 18:04 Updated: November 30, 2011 - 14:21

<p><strong>A huge rally in the heart of the Capital asks the government to not meddle with the Constitution</strong></p>
<p><strong>Hardnews Bureau Delhi</strong></p>
<p><strong>Hundreds of Dalits</strong> and Tribals marched from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar on November 28, demanding that their fears be addressed before a strong Lokpal Bill is passed by Parliament. And that any decision should not happen at the cost of the Constitutional measures in place for the backward strata of society. The rally was ignored by almost all the mainstream publications and television channels.</p>
<p>Many Dalit and other backward sections feel left out and they see the Anna Hazare led anti-graft campaign as a ploy to take the attention away from issues concerning affirmative action for them. Also, there have been allegations that the India Against Corruption leadership is anti-Dalit and anti-reservation. Here is the full text of a press statement by the organisers.</p>
<p>Today, hundreds of thousands of Dalits and tribals took out a massive rally under the leadership of Dr Uditraj from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar for even those causes which could have been fulfilled much before. Progressive citizens regardless of their caste and religion participated and, of course, OBCs and minorities also extended their full solidarity for the cause.</p>
<p>There is increasing awareness in so far as corruption is concerned. Due to corruption, price rise and support of media, this issue has gained phenomenal currency. We are for strong Lokpal Bill but that should not happen at the cost of sovereignty of the people which is vested in the Constitution.</p>
<p>There is no alternative to democracy and hence the need is to improve and revamp the same rather than to discredit it. In a democracy, the government is a byproduct of the society and to see the bureaucracy and politics without linking it to society will be fallacious and such attempts have been made in recent past. It is not the law alone which fulfills its objectives rather the people of the society who apply and it depends on their support as to what extent they are willing to follow it. The Lokpal Bill is going to be enacted and if the dalits, tribals, OBCs and minorities are alienated from the beginning, even if we get a strong Lokpal, chances are there that it may fail for lack of cooperation from all sections of the society. Though India is known to be a melting pot of different nationalities, cultures and traditions but caste has not melted away. And in this background, it is of utmost necessity to provide reservation to the SC/ST/OBC and minorities in the Lokpal Committee. Their exclusion will lead to discrimination at the level of investigation and prosecution in the matters of corruption.</p>
<p>Dr Udit Raj spoke that the confederation has already submitted Bahujan Lokpal Bill before the Standing Committee of Parliament and had pressed for the above demand and also strongly advocated for inclusion of NGOs and corporate houses in the ambit of the Lokpal.</p>
<p>Enormous amount of funds are allocated through special component plans for SC and sub-tribal plans for ST but due to corruption and malpractices, the desired level of amelioration of these communities has not been achieved. The government is urged that the Lokpal bill is passed in current Parliament session only but after addressing these genuine demands.</p>
<p>The economic pursuit of a person in a caste based society is not fixed by the education, training, expertise, exposure and capacity and interest of the person rather depends on the social status of the person received from his parents. Centuries and millennia of backwardness cannot be removed in a few decades. When Indians were not in a position to compete with the British in ICS, agitations were launched to accommodate them. There used to be only two divisions, first and second and Indians were not passing the examination, then Indian British government was urged to introduce third division so that Indians could qualify the exams. This also supports that it takes generations for any community to reach a level playing field.</p>
<p>Dalits and tribals have been deprived of land, natural resources, dignity, administration, education, knowledge for millennia and therefore, they still need protection with a view to maintain them in mainstream.</p>
<p>Globalization and privatization have pushed them back and more jobs are coming in private sector and hence reservation in private sector is justified demand not only to empower them rather to strengthen the unity and integrity of the country. Progress of the country is not possible as long as such a large section of population is deprived.</p>
<p>The developed countries like US have strong affirmative programmes for their deprived people and private sector is coming forward gladly to include them but in our case, the corporate houses are opposing under the pretext of merit and efficiency. So far, due to reservation, it has not been proved that merit has been affected. Tamilnadu has 69 per cent reservation in government jobs and that is one of the best governed states and its health index is highest in the country.</p>
<p>The proportion of SC/ST employees in the private sector does not reflect their population in many of industrialised states, according to the CII survey. For Example, in Karnataka SC/ST population is 22.8 per cent but their representation in jobs is only 9 per cent in private sector and thus there is huge gap of 13.9 per cent. Indian Industry unveiled a voluntary code of conduct for affirmative action to provide job opportunities in the private sector for SC/ST but performance has been quite dismal.</p>
<p>According to the CII 's own estimates, affirmative action agenda drawn up by nearly 100 of its member companies have made a difference to the lives of just 37,435 SC/STs over the past three years and this is like a drop in the ocean in a country of 1.2 billion people.</p>
<p>The UPA-I promised to give reservation in private sector but that remained a mirage and efforts at three levels like Group of Ministers Committee, Coordination Committee in PMO and Group of Officers Committee in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry were tried but that resulted in nothing. The government was urged that it must introduce reservation in private sector as is prevalent in government service.</p>
<p>Nearly for two decades, the higher judiciary has been diluting the rights given by Parliament and other legislative bodies to these sections. In 1997, five anti-reservations orders were issued and that was also due to pronouncement of higher judiciary. On January 4, 2011, the Lucknow High Court struck down the right of reservation in promotion. Rajasthan High Court has also done the same.</p>
<p>This is a very sorry state of affairs that whatever the legislature gives is being snatched by the higher judiciary. To restore the benefit of reservation in promotion, the government must bring about Constitutional amendments. In this background, the demand for reservation in higher judiciary is strongly justified. The UPA-I promised to enact the Reservation Act and the bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2004 but so far, it has not been passed. Without an effective Reservation Act, it is not possible to implement reservation. This is one of the reasons that huge backlog in employment of SC/ST/OBC to government posts is created. The government has recently promised to fill up the backlog and let us see what actually happens.</p>
<p>The contract system is not only increasing exploitation but also affecting the jobs and quality of life. Safai Karmacharies are the worst sufferers and without stopping the contract system and introducing time bound promotion, their lives are not going to be improved. Many deserving candidates are not getting their due because of difficulties in availing the caste certificates. The caste certificate of one state is not valid in other states and as a result either posts are lying vacant or benefit of reservation is being reaped by others. Thus the order of 1950 is to be annulled.</p>
<p>Besides Dr.Udit Raj other office bearers of Confederation from all over the country Indira Athawale, Bhawan Nath Paswan, Dr. Anil Kumar, SU Gadpyle, Nitin Gangurde, Maha Singh Bhurania, S.P. Jaravta, Phool Singh Gautam , Jasbir Singh Pal, Darshan Singh Chanded, Net Ram Thagela, Brahm Prakash, Vinod Kumar, A. R. Koli, Raghubir Singh, G.D. Diwakar, M.L. Deepak, P. R. Meena , Satya Pal Bauddh, Indraj Singh, Shyam Babu Rawat, R.V. Singh, Balbirchand Bauddh, H.C. Arya, Jaipal Singh, Hira Lal, D.K. Behera, Shankhanand, Anchal Das, G.C. Dalai, Narayan Charan Das, Param Hans Prasad, R.B. Singh, K.P. Roy, R.S. Maurya, Ambalal Chauhan, Ramesh Manwar, B. Sagadevan, M. Jagpriyapathi, M. Jagannathan, Shiv Bhagya Rao, K. Raman Kutty, Madhu Chandra, Maheshwar Raj, G. Shankar, Prem Kumar, Anil Meshram, Pradeep Sukhdeve, Tarapad Biswas, Rameshwar Ram, Sapan Haldar, Dinesh Kumar, Damodar Bauddh, Shankar Tanti, Madhusudan Kumar , R.K. Kalsotra , Madan Ram, Devi Prasad, Purushottam Das, J. Shriniwaslu, S. Rajendran, M. Vendakswamy, M.R. Negi etc, and leaders of other organisations like Mastram Kapur, Ibrahim Qureshi, Dilip Mandal, P. S. Krishnan, Vinod Diwakar, Vinod Kumar, Prabuddh Kumar, Chandrapal Singh, Rahul Kumar, Joseph D'Souza, Ravi Varma Kumar, MR Gyasi, Yusuf Ansari, Aziz Burney, Ivan Kostaka, Abraham Mathai, M.A. Siddiqe, Sunil Sardar, Bishop M. S. Scaria, Subba Rao, Hani Babu, Devidayal, Akhilesh Katiyar, V. P. Nagar, Pawan Yadav, B. S. Yadav, Sanjay Kanaujia etc. addressed the rally and pledged to come back again and again till these rights are not achieved.<span>&nbsp;</span></p>

A huge rally in the heart of the Capital asks the government to not meddle with the Constitution
Hardnews Bureau Delhi

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