RSS body and other Hindu outfits oppose reservation benefits for Dalits converted to Islam, Christianity
On Monday, the Vishwa Samvad Kendra (VSK), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) media wing and other outfits concluded that reservation benefits should not be extended to Dalits who have converted to Islam and Christianity from Hinduism. The decision was taken during a two-day conclave which concluded on Sunday (March 5) in Noida.
Vishva Hindu Parishad working president Alok Kumar said on Monday that the RSS media wing has decided to submit a memorandum to the Justice K G Balakrishnan Commission, which was appointed by the Center in October last year to look into the issue of extending reservation to converted members of the Scheduled Castes.
In association with the Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida and the monthly journal Hindu Vishva, VSK had organised the conference to address the topic of “Conversion and Reservation” in light of the Center’s appointment of the three-member committee to investigate the matter.
“The conclave unanimously reiterated that the reservation for the scheduled castes is an article of faith and shall continue. The basis for selecting caste in the schedule was the social, educational and economic backwardness,” the VHP working president told the media on Monday, after the conclusion of the conclave.
The VSK will prepare a memorandum for submission before the K G Balakrishnan Commission and also request a personal hearing in the matter, Kumar said.
“We will take all possible steps to place facts before the Commission for a logical and just conclusion. In the coming days, the VSK and Hindu Vishva magazine will organise such conclaves in various parts of the country “to generate more inputs and support for the cause”, he added.
The VHP representative contended, “The OBCs among Muslims and Christians already enjoy the benefits of reservation in the relevant quota of various states,” opposing any attempt to extend the benefits of reservation to Dalits who have accepted Islam or Christianity. According to him, the other “poor Muslims and Christians” are eligible for the quota under the category of economically weaker sections of society (EWS).
The VHP leader said, they also benefit from various programmes for minorities’ development, and their institutions are protected by Article 30 of the Constitution.
“Minorities have also benefited from welfare schemes, including free ration, housing, toilet, gas, electricity, tap water, etc.,” Kumar said, adding, “Therefore, the reservation for Scheduled Castes is sacrosanct. Including any other caste or race will dilute the constitutional spirit behind the reservation provisions.”
“More than 150 persons, including former judges, serving and former vice-chancellors, professors, journalists, lawyers, writers and other academics participated in the conclave, the VHP said in a statement.
While Narendra Jadhav, former planning commission member and Rajya Sabha MP, was the chief guest for the inaugural function held on Saturday, the concluding session was presided over by Padma Shri Milind Kamble on Sunday, it added.
Centre sets up commission after SC seeks its response on the issue
Notably, on October 22, 2022, the Union Government set up a commission headed by former Chief Justice Balakrishnan to examine the current situation of the Schedule Caste people who have converted to other religions. They were given 2 years to file a report on the same.
The commission was formed after Supreme Court in August last year, sought the centre’s response to a plea that the Dalits who have converted to Islam and Christianity from Hinduism, should be eligible for the same quota benefits that are reserved for Scheduled Castes.
Until now, the only groups currently eligible for reservation benefits are Dalit Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs. The Supreme Court is currently considering a number of petitions that ask for reservation privileges for Dalits who converted to Islam or Christianity.
Dalits converted to Christianity and Islam not eligible for reservation benefits: Govt
Notably, in 2021, the then Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the Rajya Sabha that Dalits who had shunned their faith and converted to Islam and Christianity will not be permitted to contest parliamentary or assembly elections from constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC), and will not be allowed to claim other reservation benefits.
Courtesy : Opindia
Note: This news piece was originally published in opindia.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights.