Banjara Community Stages Protest Over Reservation Issue At Yediyurappa's House In Shikaripura; Prohibitory Orders Clamped

The agitators alleged that "less" reservation was given to the 'Scheduled Caste-Touchables', to which the Banjara community belongs, after Karnataka Cabinet last week introduced internal reservation amongst the SCs.

Banjara Community Stages Protest Over Reservation Issue At Yediyurappa's House In Shikaripura; Prohibitory Orders Clamped

Shivamogga: Agitating members of the Banjara community on Monday targeted BJP strongman and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's house in Shikaripura town of this district and resorted to stone-pelting, injuring some policemen during a protest against the internal reservation for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) announced by the state Government. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed in the town.

Reacting to the incident, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai saw Congress hand behind the violence.

"Local Congress leaders are instigating people. The Congress is unable to digest the social justice done to every community and it resorted to inciting violence. Banjara community should not fall for any hearsay," he told reporters.

Yediyurappa said the incident occurred due to a misunderstanding. He added that he would go to Shikaripura on Tuesday and speak to the Banjara community leaders there.

Police used batons to disperse the large number of protesters who included women. Some members of the Banjara community, who are also known as Lamani or Lambani, were injured.

Police were taken by surprise as the agitators, most of them youths milled around Yediyurappa's house and resorted to stone-pelting, damaging some window panes.

Sensing the situation going out of control, additional police forces were summoned to the area.

The agitators vented their anger, alleging that "less" reservation was given to the 'Scheduled Caste-Touchables', to which the Banjara community belongs.

The Karnataka Cabinet had last week decided to introduce internal reservation amongst the SCs.

After hiking reservation for the SCs from 15 to 17 per cent, the government announced that 6 per cent reservation would be given to SC left sub-category, 5.5 per cent to SC right, 4.5 per cent to Touchables and one per cent to others.

The state government also wrote to the Centre recommending that the proposal be included in the ninth schedule of the Constitution.

Appealing to the leaders of Banjara community to exercise caution, Bommai clarified that the government implemented the cabinet sub-committee recommendation and not the Sadashiva Commission recommendations.

"They (Lambanis) have apprehension that they will be removed from the SC list. It was me who ordered that Bovi, Lamani, and other communities such as Korcha and Korma be retained in the SC list. There is no question of removing them. Hence, an order has been passed and sent to the central government. There is no need to fear," Bommai said.

He further clarified that the SC reservation for the 'touchables' has been increased from three per cent to 4.5 per cent.

"We have fulfilled their demands. I want to tell the Banjara community leaders that there is no confusion about it. We (BJP government) have protected your community's interests. We have distributed 2.5 lakh 'Hakku Patra' to those residing in Lamani Tandas (hamlets). So, this is in your favour only," the Chief Minister explained.

Bommai said Yediyurappa had constituted the Tanda (Lamani hamlet) Development Corporation and provided all the facilities to the Tandas in Shivamogga district.

"There should not be any room for violence. If there is any issue, then it can be resolved by sitting across the table," he said.

Sharply criticising the Congress, the CM said it was highly condemnable to "create unrest in the society for political gain".

After the incident, Yediyurappa convened a press meet where he said he would visit Shikaripura tomorrow and speak to the people of Banjara community.

"I believe that this incident happened due to some misunderstanding. I will call the senior leaders of the Banjara community. I will also discuss with them the reason behind the confusion which led to this incident," the BJP strongman said.

He also said that the Banjara community was always with him and he too had formed the Tanda (Lamani hamlet development board).

Yediyurappa added that he asked the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Shivamogga to sort out the issue amicably.

Asked why the incident occurred in Shikaripura and not in Bidar where a large number of Lamanis live, the former CM said he would not blame anyone for it and would rather respond only after talking to the Banjara community leaders on Tuesday.

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