The Congress may have promised quotas for backward Muslims and Scheduled Caste status to Dalit minorities, but Muslims and Christians of Dalit origin, who form a big voting bloc, are shocked at the party’s “hypocrisy.”
Both minority groups have been demanding amendment to the 1950 Presidential Order, which holds that only Dalits who practise Hinduism can be treated as SC. Later, there were two amendments to the order — in 1956 and 1990 — to grant SC status to Sikhs and Buddhists.
Alleging that the Congress did nothing to get them SC status during its 10 years in power, the National Council of Dalit Christians has given a call to boycott the Congress. “We had approached the Supreme Court in 2004, challenging the constitutional validity of the Presidential Order, but the matter has been pending since essentially because the UPA government had not yet filed an affidavit on its stand,” said the main petitioner of the ongoing case, Franklin Caesar Thomas.
Mr. Thomas alleged that the UPA government did not purposely inform the apex court of its stand even after several government agencies and commissions, such as the Ranganath Misra Commission and the National Commission for Minorities, held that the Presidential Order discriminated on religious grounds, and recommended SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims.
Ali Anwar Ansari, president of the All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, who is part of the campaign for affirmative action to backward classes, said the Congress could not be “trusted after a decade of betrayal.”
Mr. Ansari, a prominent Dalit Muslim leader from Bihar, alleged that that Congress had never been “serious” about providing affirmative action to the backward classes.
The UPA had in 2011 announced a sub-quota of 4.5 per cent for socially and educationally backward persons from minority communities, but the proposal got stayed in judicial scrutiny.