Education is the only powerful tool that would free the fetters of slavery, both at a physical and spiritual level and none but B.R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution exemplifies that, said Thol. Thirumavalavan, MP and President of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) during a special address delivered here on Wednesday.

In his address, held to create awareness among SC/ST students on ‘Post Matric Scholarship Scheme’, he said that whenever there is empowerment and assertion by Dalits, it has resulted in a simultaneous increase in their oppression by caste Hindus and dominant castes.

However, in the recent past many non-Dalits are representing the cause of Dalits and there is a coming together of democratic forces to address issues affecting Dalits. In this line, efforts should be made to demand proper implementation of the scholarship scheme, he added.

Speaking earlier, former secretary, Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare department, Christodas Gandhi said, “Eternal vigilance is needed on the part of the community to ensure that SC/ST students get into all forms of higher education.”

Financial constraints to higher education for SC students is an artificially created notion with the proliferation of self-financed colleges in the last two decades, which never implemented reservation but hiked tuition fees.

He added that more than 1.5 lakh SC students pass out every year in higher secondary exams, but only a few enter engineering colleges while many others opt out.

Finance is not a constraint for education as the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme takes care of higher education of poor SC students.

The problem lies in the non-implementation of the scheme.

Bharathi Prabhu of Thudi Iyakkam in his address said that the VCK and other Dalit movements should create awareness and be vigilant so that educational benefits reach Dalits.

Earlier, a booklet titled ‘Post Matric Scholarship Guidelines’ was released by Mr. Christodas Gandhi and the first copy was received by Mr. Thol.Thirumavalavan.

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