Monday, April 5, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Nitish announces sops for Paswan community

Published: April 4, 2010 23:58 IST | Updated: April 4, 2010 23:58 IST
Patna, April 4, 2010

Nitish announces sops for Paswan community
Shoumojit Banerjee

A move to sow seeds of divisiveness among Dalits: Ram Vilas Paswan

In a significant overture to woo the Paswan community, Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday announced that the State government
would shortly begin distributing land to landless members among the
Paswan (Dusadh) community.

As of now, 21 backward castes, with the exception of the Paswan
community, have been included in the Maha Dalit caste list under the
Maha Dalit Committee set up by Mr. Kumar to identify the most backward
castes among the Dalits.

The move means that every landless member of the Paswan community will
receive three decimals of land as decided by the Bihar government in
their land allocation procedures regarding Maha Dalits.

Mr. Kumar also expressed concern for women in the Paswan community and
said appropriate steps for their welfare would be taken up soon.

"We believe in practising the politics of unity," said Mr. Kumar.
Alluding to Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) party supremo Ram Vilas Paswan,
Mr. Kumar said that some leaders were "living under false illusions
that he was interested in dividing the Dalit fraternity."

"Our credo is to strive for the equality and integration of every
section of society. This is only proper as it is in keeping with
Bihar's changing image of a progressive State," said Mr. Kumar.

The four castes — Dusadh, Pasi, Dhobi and Chamar — constitute 69 per
cent of the Dalit population in the State, of which the Ravidas and
Dusadh (Paswan) castes form 31.34 per cent and 30.88 per cent.

The Dusadh community is more literate among the other Scheduled Castes
in the State, with a literacy rate of 25.62 per cent.

Speaking to The Hindu from his constituency Hajipur, Mr. Paswan said:
"Mr. Kumar is trying to sow the seeds of divisiveness among the Dalit

"He is playing with a live electric wire," Mr. Paswan said. "He
[Nitish] first insulted the Dalit community by inventing and then
thrusting the abusive nomenclature of Maha Dalit upon them."

Mr. Paswan said his original demand to the Bihar government was that
every Dalit be given one bigha of land, and not a mere three decimals.

"Earlier, he [Nitish] had included 18 castes. Now, he is slyly trying
to secure the goodwill of the educated Dalit castes. But his scheming
will not give him much political mileage," he warned.


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