NEW DELHI: Call it the curious case of 296 Anglo-Indians in the country. While ending reservations for Anglo-Indians in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, the Centre cited decline in their population in the 2011 Census as the ground.
However, the census data collected by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, may not present a clear picture for the reason it broadly categorises six religions but declaration of the sect one practices is voluntary.
According to officials at the Office of RGI, declaration of six broad religions is mandatory but the sect/faith one follows, like Anglo-Indians or Sanatan Dharma or Ravidasia or Bohra community, is voluntary. Hence, it’s quite likely that many Anglo-Indians didn’t come clean on the same during the census.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that the number of Christians, SCs and STs have risen but as far as the Anglo-Indians are concerned, their count has reduced significantly to 296 from 1,11,637 in 1951, as per the 2011 census.
He said when the census related to SCs, STs and Christians are accepted, there is no reason why the current count of Anglo-Indians, which is 296, should be hard to believe.
The minister also tried to play with words, saying under Articles 330, 331 and 332, there is a positive mandate that there shall be a reservation for SCs and STs, but in case of Anglo-Indians, the provision is that the President may nominate.
Many members questioned the government’s move. Some said that it was a move to target minorities — Muslims through Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Christian community through this Bill.
Trinamool MP Derek O’ Brien, who belongs to the community, slammed the Centre, saying, “You have said that there are 297 of us. You have said zero in U P, zero in Uttarakhand, zero in Jharkhand and zero in Madhya Pradesh. Then, I want to ask the BJP, how could they nominate four Anglo-Indian MLAs in these states over the last three years?”
Govt to sell 100% stake in Air India
The Centre, on Thursday, reaffirmed its commitment towards disinvestment of the national carrier saying that it has decided to sell its entire 100 per cent stake in Air India. “Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) has approved the 100 per cent sale of Government of India’s stake in Air India for the re-initiated strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the Minister of State for Civil Aviation said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
One airport, many names
Different airline operators take the name of Chennai airport in different ways while landing the flights. While Indigo calls it just ‘Chennai’, Air India calls it ‘Kamaraj domestic airport’ for domestic flights and ‘Chennai Anna International Airport’ for international flights. The issue was raised by DMK lawmaker Dayanidhi Maran in Parliament on Thursday. He asked if the ministry has issued any direction to all airlines regarding the same.