Vishwa Samvad Kendra (VSK), the media wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on the conclusion of its two-day conclave on ‘Conversion and Reservation’ on Sunday said the meet unanimously resolved that reservation should not be provided to converts.
During the concluding session, former judge of Telangana High Court, Justice B. Shiva Shankar Rao (retired), said that conversion means “leaving one faith completely and adopting another”. “The definition on conversion says that you totally abandon the faith. And if you have left your faith, then why demand reservation and benefits given under it?” he questioned.
According to a communique shared by organisers, seven retired judges, seven Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of different universities, 30 prominent professors and lecturers, eight eminent lawyers, and more than 30 workers of various organisations, including VHP, RSS and its affiliated bodies, participated in the conclave held at Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida.
Padma Shri Milind Kamble, chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), also addressed the participants on the last day of the conclave and said that the provision of reservation was made to give proper representation to those who had less representation.
“However, those who converted to other religions snatched its benefits away from those who deserved it. They are eyeing it, even today,” he said adding that some people want to grab political power in the name of reservation to converts.
“They should cry for reservation before the Minorities Commission instead of snatching it from us,” he further said.
Surendra Jain, central joint general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that those seeking reservations for converted Dalits are not concerned about the welfare of Scheduled Castes but their aim is only to increase the population of their faith.
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“If they were concerned about SCs, they would have given SCs the benefit of reservation in their [minority] institutions and the benefit of scholarships given to the minorities,” he said adding that there should be a nationwide discussion on the issue of reservation for converts.
Mr. Jain also announced that the VHP “will take this conclave pan-India” and appealed to educationists, jurists, and sociologists to bring the issue to the centre of discussion nationwide.
Amid long-standing debate regarding whether SC status can be accorded to Dalit Christians and Muslims, the Union government in October 2022 formed a commission headed by former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan to examine the issue.
The media wing of RSS in partnership with VHP has also decided to submit the report of the conclave to the Commission.
Arun Halder, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), who was also a speaker on the last day of the conclave, said reservation was brought in to enable the progress of those exploited by the society.
“Those who are backward in society can come forward with the help of caste-based reservation. This is why reservation was brought in. It would be wrong if the people who converted due to greed and pressure get reservation benefits,” he said.
While presenting his paper, Prof. S.C. Sanjeev Rayppa said that cases of conversion will increase if converted persons get benefits of reservation, the Kendra’s communique added.