By Jose Kavi
New Delhi, January 9, 2019: The National Dalit Christian Watch (NDCW) on January 9 expressed shock and anguish over the Indian government’s determination to extend reservation benefits to the economically weaker section of the dominant castes of the country.
“NDCW opposes this move which is against the spirit of the Constitution of India as the ‘Concept of Reservation’ was introduced under the principle of ‘Social Justice’, to uplift the status of the communities who are socially and educationally backward due to cumulative oppression and discrimination for centuries in the name of Caste,” a press statement for the body said.
Earlier in the day, the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, passed the proposed law to provide 10 percent quota in jobs and education for people from general category, who also belong to the economically weaker sections.
The Lok Sabha, the lower house, passed the bill a day earlier. The bill will now require the President’s nod to become a law. Most parties have called the government’s move a political stunt ahead of the national elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called the law a “victory for social justice”, pointed out that elections are held in the country every few months.
The Dalit Christian body says the current move is against “the very objective of reservation benefits enshrined in the Constitution of India.” The move would further widen the gap further between different castes and communities and lead to “more and heinous violence and hatred among communities,” it warns.
It also condemned what it was the Indian government’s conspiracy of silence and objection to the 68-year-old demand for extending reservation benefits to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
The groups are discriminated against, excluded and oppressed in the name of Caste both in the secular and religious domains, the press statement says.
The new law to accord benefits to forward communities exposes the government’s “anti-SC and anti-Backward caste stand,” it alleged.
“This bill will be a slap on the face of social justice and development of all philosophy that the fathers of our nation so lovingly nurtured and envisioned for a nation of brothers and sisters. This also spits venom on the socially marginalized communities,” said the statement signed by Reverend Vincent Mahoharam, NDCW national convener.