Staff Reporter

Panel to hold protests on November 7

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Reservation Protection Committee, an apex body representing over 40 Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe organisations in the State, will conduct a State-wide march and dharna on November 7, demanding reservation in appointments for community members in government aided schools in the State.

The decision was announced by Rajan Babu, general convener of the committee, at a press conference in the city on Saturday.

“There are around 1.5-lakh posts of teacher at the various aided schools in the State; however, all the appointments are carried out by the individual managements despite the fact that their salary is paid by the government,” he said.

Though 10 per cent of the State’s budget is utilised for the development of the community, even after 60 years of Independence, the community is yet to achieve significant economic and social progress, Mr. Babu said.

According to him, the Kerala Institute for Research Training and Development Studies of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, an expert agency set up in Kozhikode under the administrative control of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Department in 1979 to conduct research in anthropology, linguistics, economics and sociology and provide recommendations for the progress of the community, has failed to discharge its duties impartially.

“Till date, the institute has not given any report aimed at the development of the community to the government,” he alleged.

“Instead, attempts are made by the institute to include communities such as Kudumbi and Peruvannan, which does not come under the purview of reservation benefits under the category of Scheduled Castes.”

Reservation as a mechanism for social engineering is aimed only at those communities which have faced ostracism in society. By that yardstick, the above-mentioned communities will not fall under it, Baby Thomas, an activist of the committee, said.

He alleged that the institute was denying community certificates to deserving candidates while applying for professional courses such as engineering and medicine.

Even when the Constitution had granted the right for seeking the benefits of reservation through re-conversion to Hinduism, the institute had been denying the right for candidates applying for professional courses on “flimsy grounds.”

Call for CBI probe

“Most of the time, the institute denies the benefits entitled for the candidates citing that some of their relatives still continue to practise a different faith. This is unacceptable. The activities of the institute should be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” Mr. Thomas said.