BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale has extended support to Odisha Government’s demand for caste-based enumeration during 2021.
Addressing mediapersons here on Saturday, the Union Minister said he will take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Odisha Government had decided on January 11 to approach the Centre to conduct a socio-economic caste enumeration during the general census in 2021.
The Cabinet passed the resolution in this regard at its meeting the same day, noting that no formal census including caste details of the population has been undertaken since 1931.
However, while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha on February 5, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Ray had said there will be no special column for OBC (Other Backward Class) category in the 2021 census.
The Union Minister also maintained that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is not meant to take away anybody’s citizenship.
On the other hand, the Act has been brought to give citizenship, the Union Minister said adding, though the CAA will protect the interest of genuine citizens of the country, some opposition political parties including the Congress are misleading the people which has resulted in violent incidents in many places.
Athawale, however, clarified that National Register of Citizens (NRC) is meant for Assam only and the Centre has not taken any decision to implement it across the country.
Stating that CAA will not affect the Muslims in any way, the Minister said he will draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on their behalf if anything happens contrary to this.
Criticising the opposition parties for doing politics over these issues, the Union Minister said the Centre has always worked for the welfare of the Muslim community.
Abolition of Triple Talaq system has empowered Muslim women, he said and added that the Narendra Modi Government at the Centre is working for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Bikash and Sabka Biswas.’ The Muslim community should have trust on the Centre, he said.
Referring to the Supreme Court judgment on the Ayodhya dispute, the Union Minister said the entire country has taken it positively.
Union Minister to take up caste census with PM
He welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement to set up Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Trust with a woman and a Dalit as members. He said the Muslim community will be provided five acres of land for construction of a mosque as per the Supreme Court verdict.
Athawale said a number of atrocities on Dalits will come down drastically if the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is implemented strictly.
Stating that 2320 and 2469 cases relating to atrocities on Dalits have been registered in Odisha during 2018 and 2019 respectively, he said such cases have gone up in Odisha despite wide social awareness campaign.