‘Left’ Dalits upset at break up of internal reservation recommended by Karnataka Cabinet

They say that the very basis for demanding internal reservation has been defeated by the way SC quota has now been sliced up

March 26, 2023 04:12 am | Updated 11:32 am IST - Bengaluru

Dalit Sangharsha Samithi leader Mavalli Shankar said while the movement for internal reservation was to ensure that backward communities get reservation benefits, the government’s move had accorded most of the benefits of the hiked reservation to SC (Touchables).

Dalit Sangharsha Samithi leader Mavalli Shankar said while the movement for internal reservation was to ensure that backward communities get reservation benefits, the government’s move had accorded most of the benefits of the hiked reservation to SC (Touchables). | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

‘Left’ Dalits, who were at the forefront of struggle for internal reservation among the Scheduled Castes, are upset at the break up now recommended by the State government to slice up the reservation pie.

The benefit of the recent hike in reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) by 2% has been accorded mainly to SC (Touchables), they argue. They say that the reason for demanding internal reservation was that this section was already cornering most benefits of the reservation.

The State Cabinet on Friday adopted a resolution to recommend to the Union government to divide the hiked 17% reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) in the State giving SC (Left) 6%, SC (Right) 5.5%, SC (Touchable) 4.5%, and SC (Others) 1%. 

CommunityEstimated Population as per Sadashiva CommitteeRecommendation as per Sadashiva CommitteeRecommended by the State Cabinet 
SC (Left)33.47%6%6%
SC (Right)32.01%5%5.5%
SC (Touchables)23.64%3%4.5%
SC (Others) 4.65%1%1%
Total 15%17%

What the Commission said

Justice Sadashiva Commission that submitted its report recommending internal reservation among SCs, gave a break up of the estimated population of these communities as SC (Left) 33.47%, SC (Right) 32.01%, SC (Touchables) 23.64%, and SC (Others) 4.65% in a press note issued then. While the report is yet to be tabled in the Assembly, it is learnt to have recommended internal reservation in proportion to their population and backwardness: SC (Left) 6%, SC (Right) 5%, SC (Touchables) 3%, and SC (Others) 1%, dividing up 15% reservation for SCs in the State when the report was submitted in 2012. 

However, the State government recently accepted the recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee and hiked the reservation for SCs in the State from 15% to 17%. While distributing the hiked 2%, the State government has given an additional 1.5% to SC (Touchables) and 0.5% to SC (Right) while retaining 6% and 1% for SC (Left) and SC (Others), respectively, both considered to be the most backward communities among SCs. Notably, SC (Left) and SC (Touchables) are known to vote predominantly for the BJP. 

This has caused consternation among SC (Left) and SC (Right) communities, even as Madara Chennaiah, a seer from the SC (Left) community and closely associated with the BJP, has welcomed the move. 

Dalit Sangharsha Samithi leader Mavalli Shankar said: “The whole movement for internal reservation was to ensure that those communities that have remained more backward get reservation benefits. But the government according most of the benefits of the hiked reservation to SC (Touchables), which includes Koracha, Korama, Lambani and Bhovis, is a travesty of justice. We will stage protests against this move and will also challenge it legally.”

Ambanna Aroli, a SC (Left) leader, and State convener of SC Internal Reservation Struggle Committee, said the principles of natural justice and the rationale behind providing internal reservation dictated that the benefit of the hike in reservation be transferred to SC (Left) community giving them 8% internal reservation.

Why not right away?

“The very fact that the government has accepted the logic of internal reservation is conceding that there has been injustice done against us all. Ironically, we have suffered another injustice in this so-called effort to correct it,” he lamented. “The government is again trying to mislead the community by only recommending internal reservation to the Union government. Why cannot the ‘Double Engine’ government deliver internal reservation immediately?” Mr. Aroli questioned. 

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