Centre should change criteria for inclusion of caste in ST list:BJP

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) In an attempt to shift the blame on the Centre over the hot issue of Gujjar reservation in Rajasthan, the BJP today said that the State Government had recommended to the Centre to change the criteria for including newer castes in the Scheduled Tribes list.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the criteria evolved for scheduling and descheduling of tribes was 'old and antiquated' and the things need to be changed. ''Even the Draft National Policy on Tribes of 2006 too had recommended that the criteria evolved by the Lokur Committee for determining the communities to be classified as STs. These castes should meet criteria such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with community at large and backwardness. The draft report had stated that very few tribes in the ST were possessing 'primitive traits' and other more accurate criteria need to be fixed,'' he said.

Under the law, only the Centre has the powers to schedule or deschedule a caste in the ST category and the government should come out with a correct criteria to benefit majority of socially oppressed communities, he added.

There are 700 castes fitting these criteria and about 30 more castes were seeking such a status. If the government were to change this policy, it will benefit more people, he said, without making any reference to the demands of the Gujjar community which has been seeking the ST status in Rajasthan. The move is strongly opposed by the Meena tribe which opposes bringing Gujjars in the ST list.

The BJP, was in favour of social justice to benefit almost all sections of the communities and if it helps large numbers of people, it was a good thing, Mr Javadekar added.

UNI

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