Cabinet debate on caste census was about next exercise: Farooq

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today said the debate in the Union Cabinet over the issue of caste-based census was about the next census and not the ongoing exercise.

New Delhi: Union Minister Farooq Abdullah
today said the debate in the Union Cabinet over the issue of
caste-based census was about the next census and not the
ongoing exercise.

"There is no question of division (in the cabinet)... The
census has already started. So, it is not possible to do it in
this census... I don`t think it is possible this time to
introduce this. If it had to be done for this census, this
discussion should have been held earlier," he told reporters
outside Parliament.

The Minister was asked if there were any division in the
Cabinet over caste-based census.

The New and Renewable Energy Minister said even if the
caste-based census has to done next time, a debate should be
there to see what will be the "right way to go about it and
how to do it as it is important for us to know what is their
(OBCs`) basic population."

Noting that all "pros and cons" of the issue will have to
be discussed, Abdullah said, "Now that it has been brought up
now, the Cabinet and Prime Minister felt it needs more
discussion and only then a vital issue can be taken up because
this was discontinued after 1931."

Commenting on the recent infiltration attempts by
militants from across the border, the Minister said, "We keep
telling them (Pakistan) to stop infiltration... this is
turning to be a serious issue because if we want friendship,
this should be stopped because then nobody in the country will
take our friendship initiatives seriously or whether we should
be friends with them."

The issue, which was discussed in the cabinet meeting
yesterday, saw many ministers favouring inclusion of caste
data in the census. However, there was a feeling against
carrying out the exercise at this stage as the enumeration of
the population has already begun since April one.

PTI

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