‘Reservation should be extended to upper castes too’

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale of the Republican Party of India, an NDA ally, recently announced that he would move the Supreme Court against the Union government’s directive to the media discouraging the use of the word “Dalit” for the Scheduled Castes. He says there is no popular sentiment against the usage of the word, and shares his views on reservation policies, the arrest of civil rights activists and the 2019 election. What are your reasons to protest against the government directive to stop use of the word “Dalit” in the media? Dalit is the key word that unites the Scheduled Castes across the country. It is not an insult. It is not the same as Harijan, an epithet used by Mahatma Gandhi for our community. Many had then felt that Harijan bracketed them as inferior. There is no such popular sentiment against the usage of Dalit. Marathas, Kapus and many other forward caste communities have been demanding reservation. Should upper castes also get reservation? Yes. They may belong to the upper caste but need not be economically well off. There are very valid reasons why the demand for reservation is getting louder. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons for atrocities against Dalits is the upper caste resentment against reservation. A formula should be worked out in a way that the present reservation policy is left undisturbed. Additional quota for the economically backward among the upper castes should be created. What is your opinion on the recent arrests and raids by the Pune police in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case? The police felt that Elgaar Parishad may have been partially funded by Naxalites. I believe that the police arrests are right. Those who have been arrested have direct or indirect connection with Maoists. The police have evidence to support this claim. The police have not arrested the other hundreds of people associated with the Elgaar Parishad. If these activists want to be Ambedkarites, they need to forgo Maoism and Naxalism.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/reservation-should-be-extended-to-upper-castes-too/article24959041.ece

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