SC body against inclusion of Dalit Muslims, Christian category

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Ahmedabad, Sep 15 (UNI) Akhil Bharatiya Scheduled Caste Reservation Protection Manch Gujarat convenor Dr P G Jyotigar has said the proposed move to include Dalit Muslims and Christians into the SC category will harm the interests of Dalits.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Dr Jyotigar said Dalits who had converted to Christanity or Islam had reaped huge benefits, and now the new nomenclature of ''Dalit Christians'' and ''Dalit Muslims'' was being floated.

Even the architect of Indian Constitution Babasaheb Ambedkar had opposed inclusion of the Christian and Anglo-Indian Dalits (depressed classes) in the category of SCs during 1930-32 Round Table conference, he said.

These very same groups also claim special status under Article 29 of the Constitution which guarantees ''Protection of minorities'' and Article 30 which guarantees ''Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions''. Under this Constitutional provision, they refuse admission to others, he said.

Even during British regime, these Dalit Christian groups under the 1939 Govt of India Act were specifically barred from being treated as SCs, he pointed out. The Act said, ''No Indian Christians be deemded to be a member of scheduled castes.'' Even the Constitution has clearly said that ''No person, professing a religion different from Hinduism, shall be deemed to be a member of scheduled castes,'' Dr Jyotigar said.

The Supreme Court has also on different occasions made it clear that converted Dalits cannot access the benefits of dalit quota, he said.

UNI

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