LUCKNOW: Despite Centre’s rebuff to Yogi Adityanath government’s move for inclusion of 17 Most Backward Castes (MBCs) in Scheduled Caste (SC) category, state social welfare department has decided to continue issuing the SC certificates to the members belonging to the sub-castes.
Even the political furore over the issue is far from over as opposition in the state is mounting pressure on the dispensation to withdraw the said GO. As per highly-placed sources in state social welfare department, Principal Secretary Manoj Singh clarified that the GO was issued by the state government on June 24, 2019, in compliance of the Allahabad High Court’s interim order dated March 29, 2017 asking the state government to issue SC certificates to the members belonging to 17 MBCs on the basis of verified documents till the final verdict in the case was delivered. Hence, the issuance of certificates would not be stopped, said a senior official in the department.
Notably, the issue is pending before the Allahabad High Court since 2016 after a similar move was made by the then Akhilesh Government. It had passed a resolution in the state assembly for the inclusion of 17 MBCs in SC category just ahead of UP Assembly polls. The resolution was challenged in the High Court
through a PIL by a Gorakhpur-based organisation, Dr. Ambedkar Granthalaya Evum Jan Kalyan Samiti. The matter is sub-judice since then.
The 17 most backward castes, which constitute around 13.5 % of the OBC population in the state, include Mallah, Kashyap, Kumhar, Dheemar, Bind, Prajapati, Dheevar, Bhar, Kewat, Batham, Kahar, Machhua Rajbhar, Nishad, Turha, Manjhi and Gaudia.
Meanwhile, the opposition, especially, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), the estrange BJP ally, headed by OP Rajbhar, is objecting to the timing of the Yogi government’s move. Rajbhar called it mere hogwash and politically motivated tactic to woo the MBCs in the upcoming by-polls as well as 2022 Assembly polls.
On Tuesday, the issue was raised in Rajya Sabha by BSP national general secretary SC Mishra. Subsequently, Union Social Justice and Rights minister Thawar Chand Gehlot called the move ‘unconstitutional’ as the right to amend notified list of scheduled castes lied solely with the Parliament. He asked the state government to withdraw the order.
After Centre’s stand on the issue, the situation for the state government turned tricky. Even Opposition started building pressure on the government to clear the air on the 17 OBC sub-castes if they were OBCs or SCs.
Taking a jibe at the state government SBSP chief OP Rajbhar wanted a clarification from the authorities concerned that the job aspirants belonging to those 17 sub-castes should apply as OBC or SC as the government had started the recruitment drive in the state.
“The state government is acknowledging them as SC and Centre has rejected the move, so where do they stand now,” he asked.
Even some organisations related to the rights of scheduled castes aired their views against the order saying that if the state government wanted to uplift the 17 sub-castes it should have moved first to increase SC quota that stood out to be
just 15% in the state if 7.5% share of Scheduled Tribes was taken out of the total provision of 22.5%.