“Slogan of Mim-Bhim is a conspiracy to end the scheduled caste. They are not concerned about the welfare of SCs, and their aim is only to increase their numbers. If they were concerned about the Scheduled Caste, they would have given SCs the benefit of reservation in their (Christian and Muslim) institutions and the benefit of scholarships given to the minorities,” said Dr Surendra Jain, Central Joint General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad on March 5, 2023, while addressing the concluding session of two days conclave (March 4-5), “Conversion and Reservation”, organised by Vishwa Samvad Kendra in association with Gautam Buddha University.
Dr Jain further said, “This year we are celebrating the 200th birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand ji. Swamiji had said that untouchability is aveda, which means it is not mentioned anywhere in the Vedas. He said that one person will not take any decision on the issue of reservation for converts, but the whole country will think about it. That’s why we are discussing this topic through this conclave. There should be a nationwide discussion on this. We will see comprehensive results of this two-day discussion in coming times.” He appealed to educationists, jurists, and sociologists to bring this issue to the centre of discussion nationwide.
Importantly, the Subject of the conclave was the scheduled caste community, who have converted to Christianity or Islam, should get benefit from reservation given to the Hindu Dalit community or not.
During the concluding session of the two days conclave “Conversion and Reservation”, Justice (retd) Shivshankar said, “conversion means leaving one faith completely and adopting another. And if you have left your faith, then why to demand reservation and benefits given under it?”
Padma Shri Milind Kamble, Chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of commerce and Industry (DICCI), said, “Provision of Reservation was made to give proper representation to those who had less representation. However, those converted to other religions snatched its benefits from those who deserved it. Still today they are eying on this.” He said that some people want to grab political power in the name of the Reservation to Convert people. They should cry for Reservation before the Minorities Commission instead of snatching it from us.
Before this session, Arun Halder, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, said,” reservation was brought to bring exploited society forward. Backward society come forward with the help of caste-based Reservation; this is for what Reservation was brought.” He said it would be wrong if the people converted due to greed and pressure, get reservation benefits”.
While presenting his paper, Prof SC Sanjeev Rayppa said, “Converted people are more protected. We SCs are unsung Heroes. Cases of conversion will increase if converted gets benefits of reservation. Coverted SCs don’t change their name in documents and keep getting benefits of reservation.”
He said that if converted pressurises and threatens the local people in the villages who follow their original culture, where will these people go?
Notably, VSK and GBU had selected 17 topics arising from the terms of reference of the Justice KG Balakrishnan Commission. The organisers gave a call for papers, to which 60 legal and academic experts responded through their articles from across the country.
Narendra Jadhav, former Member of the Planning Commission and MP of Rajya Sabha, was the chief guest for the inaugural function, Alok Kumar, International Working President, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), and Prof. Sanjay Paswan, former HRD Minister of India, were the key speakers.
More than 150 persons participated in the Conclave, including former Judges, serving and Former Vice Chancellors, Deans, Professors, Journalists, Advocates, Column writers and other academics.
After conclusion of the event, Alok Kumar, International Working President, VHP, on March 6,said, “The Conclave unanimously reiterated that the reservation for Schedule Castes is an article of faith and shall continue. The basis for selecting Caste in the Schedule was the social, educational and economic backwardness.” He further said, ”The questionnaire prepared by the then Census Commissioner Dr J H Hutton for the census of 1931 formed the basis for determining social backwardness. It included the following question:
“Does the Caste or class in question pollute a high-caste Hindu by contact or proximity?”
Abrahamic Religions declare that there is no caste system in those religions, and hence, there is no practice of untouchability. Thus, a scheduled caste person who converts to Islam or Christianity leaves behind the social stigma and cannot be considered for reservation in STs category
Based on this, the state identified the Castes considered untouchables in Hindu society. The same categorisation later became the basis for introducing Article 17 in the Constitution of India to abolish untouchability. Yet, the curse of social discrimination against the Schedule Castes continues in various forms and degrees. Therefore, the reservation should continue and be limited only to castes considered untouchables in the past.”
“The Abrahamic Religions, i.e. Islam and Christianity, declare that there is no caste system in those religions, and hence, there is no practice of untouchability. Thus, a scheduled caste person who converts to Islam or Christianity leaves behind the social stigma and cannot be considered for reservation in the scheduled caste category. In any case, the OBCs amongst Muslims and Christians enjoy the benefits of reservations in the respective quota of various states. The other poor Muslims and Christians are entitled to the reservation under the EWS category. They also enjoy the benefit of different schemes for the development of minorities. Their institutions are protected under Article 30 of the Constitution of India. Minorities have also benefited from welfare schemes, including free ration, housing, toilet, gas, electricity, tap water etc. Therefore, the reservation for Scheduled Castes is sacrosanct. Including any other caste or race will dilute the Constitutional spirit behind the reservation provisions,” said Alok Kumar.
He informed that the VSK will prepare a memorandum for submission before the Commission, request for a personal hearing and take all possible steps to place facts before the Commission for a logical and just conclusion.