Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Janata Dal(United) president Sharad Yadav on Saturday welcomed the Madras High Court order, directing the Centre to conduct caste census and urged the government to abide by it.

Talking to journalists , Mr. Yadav said that the court's ruling concurred with Parliament's consensus on what he termed as an issue of vital national importance to understand the status of various social groups in society and decide the remedial course of action to uplift the weaker and deprived sections.

Mr. Yadav quoted a report of 2006 to claim that 80 per cent of the population including SC, ST and OBCs could get just 20 per cent representation in Central government services as on January 1, 2005.

He alleged that the UPSC “is active with all kinds of conspiracies to ensure the failure of reservation policy so as to minimize the recruitment of the SC,ST and the OBC candidates. They took their separate interview to give lower marks in oral examinations.”

He lashed out against those who argued that caste census would prove divisive by stressing that the country's division was because of religion and yet an enumeration on that line had been permitted. He wondered at the phenomena of the urban class issuing matrimonial advertisements mentioning their castes and gotras as also those who had gone over to Australia, the US. and the U.K. seek a bride back in India.

Mr. Yadav said that caste had been punished for no reason and contended that the government had made no effort to break the caste system despite efforts of social reformists. He said that the government was apprehensive that it would stand exposed by adopting a caste census as it would lay bare the disparities.

A caste census was also necessary to pinpoint disparities even among upper castes. “The country has to know who stands where and who all are badly off,” he said.

Mr. Yadav condemned Congress MP Naveen Jindal for allegedly supporting the Khap Panchayat's opposition to marriages within the same gotra and said that the government should come down against it with an iron hand.

Questioning the existence of Khap Panchayat, Mr. Yadav said that it only underscored the weakness of the government.