NEW DELHI: BJP as a political party may still be grappling with its stand on the reservation policy, but the Narendra Modi government has swung into action after singeing its fingers over the recent suicide of Dalit student Rohit Vemula in Hyderabad and the following unrest in the universities across the country.
Determined not to let the issue be “hijacked’’ by the Opposition, the government is on a course correction drive and has ordered the first-ever profiling of all reserved category students in Central universities, IITs and IIMs. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has asked the institutions to furnish details of the percentage of reserved category students and details of the procedure adopted for their admission.
“There was no serious monitoring of whether the affirmative policies of the government are being carried out, hence there were no accurate details with the government,’’ a ministry official told The Sunday Standard. He added that the move—being carried out by National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC) under the ministry—is expected to gather all information about reservation category students, including their socio-economic and family backgrounds. Though the official did not want to connect Vemula’s suicide to these developments, he did not deny that the process got priority after it.
Vemula had become a rallying point for the Opposition, with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacking the Modi government. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a constituent in the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala, which is known not to have caste sensitivity, had invited Vemula’s mother and brother to attend its political rally in Thiruvanathapuram this week. In the rally, many speakers cited the suicide to attack BJP. IUML state president Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal said that the “Sangh Parivar agenda has become a threat to Dalits too, just like it is to several other sections of society”.
CRISIS OF CATEGORY
- A recent Human Resource Development data found that most of universities and IITs fell short of the requisite 27 per cent of reservation for OBCs
- 5.24%: Uttarakhand’s HNB Garhwal University
- 4.40%: Central University of Kashmir
- 19.19%: Central University of Tamil Nadu
- 20.13%: Central University of Punjab
- 22.45%: Vishwa Bharati University, West Bengal
■ In IITs under-graduate engineering programmes, OBC admissions did not cross 25%.