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UP adopts resolution on quota for Muslim, Christian Dalits

ICC Note:
While this article focuses on the gains for Muslims, it is encouraging to note that one Indian state has also included Christian Dalits in giving them the benefit of reservations.

ZEENEWS.COM (12/07/06) Amidst protests by the BJP and in the absence of the entire opposition, Uttar Pradesh assembly today adopted a government resolution seeking a constitutional amendment to pave the way for inclusion of Muslim and Christian Dalits in the scheduled caste category to give them the benefit of reservations.

BJP members vehemently opposed the resolution, alleging that it reflected “appeasement of Muslims and was aimed at gaining political mileage ahead of the next assembly polls”.

BJP member Hukum Singh said the Samajwadi Party government was “perturbed by the shift of Muslim votes” and wanted to portray itself as a “messiah of the community”.

It was a “conspiracy to divide the society along religious lines,” he said and demanded that it be withdrawn.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan defended the resolution, saying that it would remove “discrimination against the Dalits in Muslims and Christians”.

Congress and BSP members were not present in the house, having walked out earlier on a different issue. Congress leader Pramod Tewari had yesterday said his party had no objection to the resolution but alleged it was intended to gain “political mileage” ahead of the polls.

The resolution said the provision in the constitution providing for exclusion of Dalits from the Muslim and Christian communities from the ambit of reservations should be scrapped with immediate effect.

“Our government demands that the communities which had been included in the definition of SCs should get reservation facilities irrespective of their religion,” it said.

“Depriving Dalits among Muslims and Christians of reservations is against the spirit of the fundamental rights bestowed upon the citizens by the constitution,” it said.