Lucknow, Jul 2: Uttar Pradesh government's decision to appoint safai karamcharis (sweepers) in all the revenue villages of the state has entered into a controversy as the Balmikis have questioned as to why persons from the upper caste are being given jobs of safai karamcharis.
Akhil Bharatiya Balmiki Samaj has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Mayawati questioning government's move to throw open the jobs of safai karamcharis for all castes, including the upper caste.
The state government has decided to appoint 2 lakh safai karamcharis -- at least one in each revenue villages of the state.
The government move is being seen as an attempt to appease the Balmiki Samaj as a government's study has found that Balmikis, all of them Dalits, are least represented in the government sector.
The Government issued notification for district-wise appointment of karamcharis and entrusted the job to Department of Panchayat for implementation. Advertisements were issued reserving only 50 per cent posts for the SC/ST and OBCs. The rest of the posts were open for the general candidates.
''The job of the safai karamcharis are meant exclusively for Balmiki Samaj and by throwing open the job for upper caste the government has betrayed the Samaj,'' state president of the Samaj M C Safera said in his letter written to the Chief Minister.
Balmiki Samaj has also questioned as to why character certificates were being asked for female candidates. ''This shows that the government has doubts over the character of Dalit women,'' Mr Safera said.
The letter has sent a shock wave in the Chief Minister's office as the Balmikis are almost 8 per cent of the total vote bank and are considered to be the bullwark of the BSP's vote bank.
The Chief Minister has asked the officials to speak to Balmiki Samaj members and settle the issue before it goes out of hand.
Traditionally the menial jobs is done by the Balmikis, but with the changing trend people of other castes are also given job as safai karamchari.
''Government can not exclusively give job to one caste because traditionally they used to do it. Government jobs have to be open for all castes and whosoever qualifies should get the job,'' a senior official in the Chief Minister's office said.