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Maha Rally Held at Jantar Mantar to Support Dalit Agenda
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All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations

New Delhi, 16 December, 2013.

A massive rally was held today at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, in which a large number of SC/ST employees and sympathizers from all over the country,  under the banner of All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations, participated.

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The rally was mainly held for demanding legitimate rights of the marginalized and for inclusive growth and development in the country. Shri Nitin Gadkari, Bijender Gupta and Lahari Guruji (BJP), K Raju (Congress), Rajkumar Verka (Vice Chairman, SC Commission) shared the manch and supported the Dalit agenda. The AAM Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal were rapped for their stance on Dalit issues.

The main demands were –

1. Introduce Reservation in Private Sector and Promotions
2. Ban contract system in Safai Work.
3. Fill up backlog posts by special drive.
4. Equal Education.
5. Land to landless.
6. Enact Reservation Act.
7. Legislation of SCP & TSP.
8. Caste certificate of one State should be valid
in other States.
9. Raise scholarship amount based on price rise.

While addressing the rally, Dr. Udit Raj, National Chairman, All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations, said that reservation in Government services, higher education in limited institutions and politics is the only means for the development of SC/STs as these communities are not represented in all other important areas like business, trade, industry, agriculture, art, culture, import, export and media at all.

Legislatures, be it Parliament or Assemblies, are considerate enough to make laws to give representation in Government jobs but higher judiciary is hell bent on diluting it. The 85th constitutional amendment clearly paved the way for reservation in promotions but the Supreme Court erred in imposing riders like inadequacy of representation, backwardness and efficiency. The nine judge bench in the Indira Sawhney case concluded that there was no need to prove the backwardness of SC/STs time and again.

Currently, there are 149 Secretaries in Govt. of India and none of them is from the SC category. Nowhere in any department has it been proved that efficiency of administration has suffered due to reservation. Constitutional amendments like 77th, 81st, 82nd and 85th are in support of reservation in promotions and consequential benefits so that SC/ST employees are promoted faster. The bill to this effect is pending in the Lok Sabha after being passed in the Rajya Sabha. The UPA Govt. introduced a Bill in Rajya Sabha in 2004 to bring in the Reservation Act but it has not been passed so far in the Parliament. We demand that the government pass these Bills in the current session itself.

Dr. Udit Raj further said that reservation in Government jobs has come to a halt almost and increased work-load is being out-sourced which clearly dilutes reservation. More jobs are being created in private sector but SC/STs are being kept outside. All efforts made by the govt. to negotiate with the business organisations like CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM to bring in reservation in private sector, as is being done in the USA through affirmative action, have not borne any fruit so far. Therefore we urge the government to make legislation to bring reservation in the private sector.

When in August and September, 2011, different Bills were being considered to bring in the Lokpal bill in Parliament, demands for our own version of the bill – Bahujan Lokpal Bill – were discussed and one key feature was an insistence on infusing a plural character into the Lokpal Committee ensuring the representation of SC/ST/OBCs. We will not tolerate any dilution in it, at any cost. Janlok Pal Bill does not include civil society institutions which are equally responsible for corruption.

The corporate houses and NGOs should also be brought under the ambit of Lokpal. Unfortunately, it is not included in the Jan Lokpal Bill and we urge the government to include them. Why does Arvind Kejriwal not talk about corruption in civil society? It goes without saying they are benefitted from it. In its letter, putting forth an 18 point agenda, addressed to Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Shri Rajnath Singh, Aam Admi Party has not mentioned reservation and therefore, the dalits feel betrayed.

There is no other society in the world except India where the job of cleaning of dirt, litter and of maintaining hygienic conditions in public and private spaces is done by people of one caste on the basis of birth. How inhuman it is that about 1.3 million people are still engaged in the work of night-soil carrying? However, the govt. has made it illegal by passing a bill – The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 – but it has yet make an impact on the ground. This should be banned immediately. We demand a ban on the contract system.

Besides contractual labour another policy of substitute (avejidar) labour has pushed workers into conditions in which they can neither survive nor die. Delhi Municipal Corporation should provide them with cashless medical card facility. The 6th Pay Commission has almost banned recruitment in Class IV category which has hit these communities the most and the govternment must reconsider such an anti-poor policy.

Regarding schemes like the Special Component Plan and the Tribal Sub-Plan, we urge the govt. to allocate budgets for these communities according to their share in the population and to spend it strictly on their development without any diversion, mis-utilization or under-utilization. At par with the Andhra Pradesh government, the Central government should legislate SCP for Scheduled Castesand TSP for Scheduled Tribes while removing the weaknesses of the A.P. govt. legislation.

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The present system of appointing judges through a collegium has promoted nepotism and favouritism and as such it is wrong and unconstitutional. We, therefore, demand that the old system of appointing judges should be restored as laid down in the constitution, or a National Judicial Commission should be constituted to appoint judges as judges appointed through the present system are against reservation. We, therefore, demand reservation in higher judiciary.

The problem of caste certificates is very grave and those people who have migrated to states other than their own are not getting certificates and thus are being deprived of the benefits of Government jobs. The process for the issue of caste certificates should be simplified. The Scheduled Caste Commission and Scheduled Tribe Commission are having inadequate financial, administrative and judicial powers and without enhancing them, these bodies will not be able to deliver justice. Though there is a law to stop atrocities on SC/STs, which is known as the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, yet discrimination continues and most cases fail during the judicial trial process; therefore there is a need to strengthen it again.

Aam Admi Party is a newly emerged phenomenon and people have voted for it for change but it has started vacillating from its stand in the beginning itself. Shri Arvind Kejriwal wrote a letter to Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Shri Rajnath Singh on 14th December detailing an 18 point programme, but prominent issues like price rise and reservation were missing from it. Dalits have voted in large number to get their grievances redressed and reservation implemented but after the results there are no mention of these demands in their programmes. Shri Arvind Kejriwal has been invited to the rally to address it but has not turned up. He was more morally bound to participate and clear his party’s stand on issues like reservation.

A memorandum of our demands was submitted to the Prime Minister of India and the UPA Chairperson, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, by Dr. Udit Raj on behalf of office bearers of the Confederation from all over the country – Bhawan Nath Paswan, Dr. Anil Kumar, S.P Singh (UP), Indira Athawale, Siddharth Bhojne, S.U. Gadpyle, Prakash Patil (M.S.), Maha Singh Bhurania, S.P. Jaravta, Phool Singh Gautam, Kanta Ahladia (Haryana), Jasbir Singh Pal, Darshan Singh Chanded (Punjab), Vinod Kumar (M.- 9871237186), Dr. Nahar Singh, N. D. Ram, Lalit Kumar, R. C. Mathuria, Brahm Prakash, A. R. Koli, P. R. Meena (Delhi), Indraj Singh, Vishram Meena (Rajasthan), R.V. Singh, Hira Lal, H.C. Arya, Rohit Kumar, Jaipal Singh (U.K.), D.K. Behera, Dr. K. C. Mallick, Shankhanand, Narayan Charan Das (Orissa), Param Hans Prasad, R.B. Singh (M.P.), R.S. Maurya, Deepak Patel (Gujarat), B. Sagadevan, M. P. Kumar, G. Rangnathan (T.N.), K. Raman Kutty (Kerala), Madhu Chandra (Manipur), Maheshwar Raj, G. Shankar, Prem Kumar, I Mysaiah, J. B. Raju, S. Ramkrishna, Y.M. Vijay Kumar, B. Narsingh Rao, P. V. Ramna (A.P.), Anil Meshram, Harsh Meshram (Chattisgarh), Kamal Krishna Mandal, Rameshwar Ram, Sapan Haldar (W. Bengal), Madhusudan Kumar, Vinay Mundu (Jharkhand), R.K. Kalsotra (J&K), Madan Ram, Kumar Dhirendra (Bihar), J. Shriniwaslu, G. Venkatswamy, Purushottam Das, Gopal Prasad (Karnataka), Seetaram Bansal (H.P.). etc.

~ Abhishek Katiyar, Media In-charge.

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