Special Correspondent

State-level convention on August 18

Seek waiver of loans taken by Adivasis, Dalits

Protest against alleged denial of caste certificates

KANNUR: Dalit and Adivasi organisations will launch a State-level agitation demanding waiver of bank loans taken by Dalits and Adivasis and in protest against ‘denial’ of caste certificates to them.

Over 30 organisations, including the Kerala Pulayar Mahasabha, Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha, Sambavar Society, Vettuva Mahasabha and Bharathiya Pattika Jana Samajam (BPJS) would jointly launch the agitation to press their demands, including withdrawal of the decision to extend validity of caste certificates to 10 years and suspension of ‘transfer’ of Aralam farm land to a company, State co-ordinator of Bhooparishkarana Samithi M. Geethanandan and C. Padmanabhan of the BPJS said at a press meet here on Thursday.

A State-level convention for forming an action committee of the agitation would be held in Kottayam on August 18, they said.

They alleged that the validity of caste certificates had been extended to 10 years to protect those who joined government service using fake caste certificates.

Informal curbs

They also alleged enforcement of an informal restriction on issuing caste certificates to people belonging to the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe communities. It is learnt that Revenue authorities have decided to issue the certificate to the applicant only if two of his/her neighbours submitted affidavits, they said.

Nearly 200 Scheduled Caste students in the district were facing obstacles in their efforts to pursue higher education due to this restriction, they alleged.

Action committee

A district-level action committee would be constituted at a convention here on August 10.

Protesters will stage a dharna in front of Taluk offices and the District Collectorate on August 19.

Mr. Geethanandan said that while loans of people living in coastal areas and farmers were being written off under the tsunami rehabilitation scheme and M.S. Swaminathan packages, a large number of Dalits continued to be in a debt trap.

He said the latest notification of the State government on the proposal for waiving the loans of the Dalits did not specify areas eligible for securing the benefit.

The notification required the beneficiaries to provide information to the Assembly Committee in this regard, he said.