Tamil Nadu

Amit Shah to back Devendrakula Vellalars as one community

In a bid to boost the Bharatiya Janata Party’s support base among scheduled castes in Tamil Nadu, party president Amit Shah is expected to back a move by a significant section of the SC to unify its seven sub-castes under a single tag.

The Devendra Charitable Trust, an organisation claiming to represent the Pallar community, will hold a meet in Madurai early in August to pass a resolution calling upon the State government to declare the seven SC sub-castes – Pallar, Kudumbar, Pannadi, Kaalaadi, Kadayar, Devendrakulatar, and Vadhiriyaar – spread across Southern Tamil Nadu as ‘Devendrakula Vellalars’.

Mr. Shah, who is expected to visit Madurai in the first week of August, will endorse the demand along with writer and commentator S. Gurumurthy, said sources.

The organisation spearheading this demand says the community wants to overcome the stigma of being called Dalit. “The community doesn’t like being called as Pallars or SC or Dalit. This community owned lands and even voted during the British Raj. We should have never been included into the SC category,” said M Thangaraj, the president of Devendra Charitable Trust.

“Recognition as Devendrakula Vellalars is the first step. This should have happened long ago. In future, we will push the government to change the SC status for us even if it means letting go of the privileges of reservation,” Mr. Thangaraj added.

However, a change in caste status might be a difficult sell to the members of the seven sub-castes. Ravi Kumar, general secretary of the Viduthalai Ciruthaigal Katchi, points out that the State government does not have the power to meddle with the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. “There is no need to consider this demand to be representative of the entire community. Also, the Supreme Court in 2010 has clearly stated that executive power cannot be used to make any change in the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This endorsement shows the desperation of the BJP which is struggling to get a foothold in Tamil Nadu,” he said. The leader of Puthiya Thamizhagam, Dr. Krishnaswamy, who, despite endorsing a similar demand in the past, said the State unit of the BJP must clearly state why they support this resolution.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 12:46:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/amit-shah-to-back-devendrakula-vellalars-as-one-community/article7445470.ece

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