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MPs unanimous in demanding caste-based census

Samajwadi Party and JD(U) on Thursday batted for a caste-based census.



New Delhi: Samajwadi Party and JD(U) on Thursday
batted for a caste-based census and warned the Government of a
"volcano" ready to erupt if demands of the backwards were
ignored for long.

"When the Government can count the number of trees and
nullahs in survey, what is the problem in adding a column to
include castes in the ongoing exercise," SP supremo Mulayam
Singh Yadav said participating in the debate on Census 2011 in
the Lok Sabha.

Yadav said he was happy that the issue of inclusion of
castes in the census exercise was discussed by the Union
Cabinet recently.

"While some supported the idea, there were some who
opposed it. It is the result of our mentality (that the idea
was opposed)," Yadav said.

In a veiled attack on those who reportedly opposed the
move in the Cabinet meeting, he said, "One day people will
come to know who supported and who opposed the move."

Yadav warned that those who "clash" with the majority
will get into "trouble".

Likening caste to "garbage", he said in a bid to cleanse
it, the makers of the Constitution have made provisions to
provide special opportunities for the deprived.

He said inclusion of castes in census will help identify
castes which have so far not been identified. "When in
Government (in UP), we had identified several castes...17 in
number...to provide them representation in various fields, but
with the change of government (when BSP came to power),
provisions were removed," he said.

Yadav claimed even the Supreme Court had supported the
idea of including castes in census as without a proper data,
it was difficult to ascertain the exact number of OBCs.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said, "Be it good or bad, caste
system in India is a reality where injustice is meted out to
the downtrodden at every step."

"The system of caste in India is worse than apartheid
where the distinction was merely on the colour of the skin.
Here, the discrimination leads to exploitation at every
stage," he said.

He said even political parties distribute tickets based on
castes. "It is unfair that you still do not want castes to be
included in census," he argued.

Yadav said caste system is like a "volcano ready to erupt
if Government fails to take steps to uplift the downtrodden."

Citing an official survey, he said people belonging to OBC
OBC had little representation in Government jobs.

He lauded Law Minister M Veerappa Moily`s letter to the
Prime Minister requesting inclusion of castes in the survey.

Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) said caste system cannot be
ignored.

He said it was a mere "excuse" that since the census
operation has already begun, the column on castes cannot be
appended.

Chauhan said Congress had failed to curb poverty when in
power as the government lacked a proper data.

The BSP leader said his party believed in the principle of
late Kanshiram that development was possible by breaking the
caste barrier.

Kalyan Banerji (Trinamool Congress) said there is no harm
in a detailed report on caste in the census. He said that
the Government has to act on the basis of certain documents.
"The persons who need help need to be identified," he said.

T K S Elangovan (DMK) said certain communities were
isolated from the mainstream. "They have to be identified and
targeted for rehabilitation," he said.

Ramachandra Dom (CPI-M) said since the policies of the
Government are based on composition of the population, the
enumeration should be done on the basis of caste and religion.
"Government should also include the OBCs in the process," he
said.

B Mahtab (BJD) said census is a useful tool for policy
purposes. "Caste is a reality which we cannot be wished away,
so taking away caste from the census does not make sense," he
said.

Arguing that OBCs comprise 54 per cent of the population,
Gopinath Munde (BJP) said since reservation is given on the
basis of percentage in population, so it is important to
enumerate the OBCs.

Earlier, both Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Mulayam Singh Yadav
assured Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal that
the House would facilitate passage of all the bills listed for
today after discussion on the census issue.

Sandeep Dikshit (Congress) said the census should include
sub-castes and other criteria like child mortality, bank
accounts and ownership of two-wheelers, for portraying the
exact picture of our society.

"Now that the demand for caste-based census has surfaced,
we should do that," he said.

Sameer Bhujbal (NCP) supported the caste-based census and
said, "Other Backward Classes are not getting their due share
because their due count is not available."

Anand Prakash Paranjape (Shiv Sena) said, "Foreign
migrants particularly from Nepal and Bangladesh should not be
enrolled in National Population Register."

Nama Nageswara Rao (TDP) said besides using caste as a
parameter for conducting census, the process should include
homeless people living in different shelters like Railway
stations, bus stands and under flyovers.

Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), H D Deve Gowda (JD-S) and Parmjit
Kaur Gulshan (Akali Dal) also supported caste-based census.

PTI

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