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Plea against clubbing of castes in Central OBC list

Special Correspondent


Smaller communities fear they will lose

out on opportunities


Bangalore: Strong appeals were made to the National Commission for Backward Classes to introduce sub-classifications in the Central OBC list — on the lines of the system being followed in Karnataka — to ensure that the more dominant castes in the list do not grab all the benefits.

This plea was made by J. Srinivasan and N.L. Narasimhiah of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Federation at the second day of the hearing of the commission in Bangalore on Wednesday. Mr. Narasimhiah argued that putting the powerful castes with the weaker castes within the broad category of backward classes amounted to “putting deer and lions within a cage”.

Bifurcation system

Citing a specific example, Mr. Srinivasan said that clubbing smaller communities like Helava or Hadapada with a dominant community like Lingayat would amount to going against the fundamental principles of social justice. The method of OBC categorisation in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he added, follows the bifurcation system within the broad group so that the “most backward” do not lose out on opportunities.

No benefit

Several pleas made at the hearing reflected this need with many making a submission that they were missing out on the benefits because they were classified as sub-sects of dominant castes. Besides Helava and Hadapada, who objected to being categorised as sub-groups of the Lingayat community, those of the Sadaru caste also complained that many Sadar Lingayats in northern Karnataka districts were claiming quota as Sadaru.

Presentations

The second day of the hearing, which was packed in contrast to the first day, saw sub-sects of two prominent castes of Karnataka, Vokkaligas and Lingayats, making their submission for inclusion in the Central OBC list.

Representatives of these communities were more vocal in their presentations — some made by practising advocates within the community — in contrast to other communities who struggled to communicate with the Chairperson because of the language barrier and lack of presentation skills. There were occasions when the commission members seemed to not understand the spirit of the submissions because of lack of communication.

Besides, their concentration seemed to be waning towards the end of the long session, much to the anguish of some community leaders who had come from far-flung corners of Karnataka to seek inclusion of their castes in the Central list.

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