Friday, August 26, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Dalits fear Hazare stir will lead to quota abolition (Opinion)

Dalits fear Hazare stir will lead to quota abolition
Published: Friday, Aug 26, 2011, 11:00 IST
By Amberish K Diwanji | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Dalit community appears divided on whether to support Anna Hazare.
Their concern stems for the fear that Hazare movement is a stepping
stone to change the Constitution and abolish reservations.

Tampering with the Constitution, linked with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is
simply not acceptable to the Dalits. In Delhi, Indian Justice Party
leader Udit Raj took out a rally on Wednesday warning of dire
consequences if the Constitution was altered.

Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athavale said he supported
Hazare's call. "Dr Ambedkar had envisaged a Lokpal to tackle
corruption, so setting up a Lokpal does not go against Ambedkar," he
said. But he is against placing the prime minister under the Lokpal.

Another concern is the demand to put an end to reservations for SCs,
STs, and OBCs.

Sociologist Shiv Viswanathan said: "The anti-corruption movement is a
middle-class movement, so it is natural that middle class concerns
will be voiced at the rallies."

Rights activist Dr Anand Teltumbde, who has spoken out against the
Hazare movement saying it would only intensify the neo-liberal
policies, agreed that Dalits and Muslims are feeling alienated from
the movement in which Dalits and Muslims are much smaller in number.
"Dalits are a fragmented lot, so there are some Dalits who back Hazare
while some don't," he added.

Viswanathan is against the demonisation of Hazare. "A successful
anti-corruption movement will have maximum benefit for those in the
informal economy, and most of them are Dalits and the lower classes,"
he said.


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