Progressive thinkers condemn his statements

Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy triggered a controversy here on Friday when he suggested that reservation and affirmative action policies should be withdrawn. He was speaking at a public function where a Hindu-Muslim couple was married on Friday.

Speaking of the continued resistance to inter-caste and inter-community marriages in society, Mr. Doreswamy said that policies such as “reservations perpetuate casteism”. Addressing the audience that comprised activists of several progressive organisations, he said, “On one side, you people say that there should be an end to the caste system. On the other, you say that we want reservation. I am from this caste give me a seat, give me a scholarship. Reservations just perpetuate casteism.”

The other prominent participants at the event such as CPI (M) leader G.N. Nagaraj, G.K. Govinda Rao and Agni Sridhar were quick to distance themselves from his statements.

Mr. Nagaraj said, “Out of respect for him [Doreswamy] I would like to measure my response. But we cannot accept what he just said about reservation. The reservation policy is actually counter-reservation against the reservation that some sections have enjoyed for thousands of years.”

Mr. Govinda Rao said, “I think he spoke too soon. I was in fact surprised when he said that. He should not speak in such a sweeping manner about such important policies which provide justice and access to millions.” Agni Sridhar said, “It is out of respect for his other contributions [to society] that we are quiet. Otherwise, we would have opposed him bitterly for what he said today. Till the last Dalit or Adivasi is facing discrimination and deprivation, the question of withdrawing reservation cannot even be conceived.”