6:29 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Muslim and Christian Dalits are denied their dues

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Muslim and Christian Dalits are denied their dues
Muslim and Christian Dalits are denied their dues

Constitution of India has been written with the intention of preserving secularism and human rights. All the people have been accorded the status of equality under its Article 14. Article 15 provides for guarantee of equal rights to all the citizens in educational institutions. Article 16 gives the guarantee of equal rights to all the citizens in government services. On the basis of these three Articles, no discrimination can be meted out to any citizen in the name of his or her religion, race, caste, sex, birth or place of residence.

Under Article 25 all the people have been given guarantee of freedom of religion and faith. It is a matter of happiness that besides the legal guarantee under the Constitution, Indian society, in general, believes in giving the status of equality to all.

Despite all these arrangements, Government of India has put the condition in Para-3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 that the facilities admissible to the Scheduled Castes under Article 341 would be extended to only those people who are Hindus, Sikhs or neo-Buddhists. Due to this religious discrimination, Muslim and Christian Dalits have been deprived of those rights in the matters of government educational institutions, government services and other issues, which are being enjoyed by those similar to them following Hinduism, Sikhism or neo-Buddhism since 1950.

The thing that hurts the Muslim and Christian Dalits the most is the act of reserving the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha seats for scheduled castes in the areas where Muslims are in a good number or they are in majority. This act has deprived the Muslims and Christian Dalits from contesting on these seats.

In the elections that were held for constitution of 15 Lok Sabhas from 1952 till date, about 540 seats, which have been kept reserved in the Muslim dominated areas, would have been won by the Muslim and Christian Dalits in these areas. The gravity of this loss could be gauged by the fact that so far 450 Muslim members have been elected to the Lok Sabha and they have been kept deprived of 540 seats. Similarly, Muslims would have got over 3000 additional seats in Vidhan Sabhas from 1952 till date if the Muslim and Christian Dalits were not deprived of the rights given to scheduled castes. Due to blocking the representation of Muslim and Christian Dalits in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas in such a big number, the Muslims have been kept deprived of their rights in various sectors of development. The lesser representation of Muslims and Christians in political institutions has also given way to discrimination against them in other areas.

The communal scenario and objective of this paragraph is well evident from the fact that if any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist scheduled castes converts to Islam or Christianity, he/she will be deprived of all those facilities which were admissible to him/her under Article 341 from the very day of conversion and if the same person again returns to Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism, his/her rights will all be revived from the same day. It would be appropriate to say that the arrangement in Para-3 has been made with the intention of luring the Muslim and Christian poor people towards converting themselves to Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. On the other hand this Para has also been inserted with the intention to discourage the people of scheduled castes under the Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism from converting themselves to Islam and Christianity with the temptation of Article 341. In our view, through this paragraph the poor Muslims have been lured into giving up Islam.

A writ petition against this Para-3 was filed in the Supreme Court in 2004 on the basis that this para violated the rights given to Muslims and Christian Dalits under Articles 14, 15, 16 and 25. For filing its counter affidavit in this petition, the central government constituted Rangnath Mishra Commission in 2005. In 2007, Rangnath Mishra commission advised the central government to abolish Para-3, because this Para not only violates Articles 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution, but it is also unjust. Recently, National Minority Commission has said in its counter affidavit in the Supreme Court that Para-3 should be abolished. National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes has said in its counter affidavit before the Supreme Court that Muslim and Christian Dalits should also be given the rights of Scheduled Castes but such a dispensation should not adversely affect the Scheduled Castes belonging to Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. The Government of India has not so far submitted its point of view in the court despite the directives given by the Supreme Court in this regard. Hence the Supreme Court is not in a position to deliver its verdict in this case.

It may be recorded that Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav in his capacity as Chief Minister of Bihar and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had got passed a resolution in their respective Vidhan Sabhas for abolition of Paragraph-3 and sent it to the Government of India.

Ms Mayawati, national president of Bahujan Samaj Party writing three letters to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on 02 September 2005 demanded that since till now no religious minority was being given reservation on the basis of its religion, therefore the unjust condition inserted under the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 that the benefit of reservation is given to the members of scheduled castes belonging only to Hinduism, does not have any justification. Recommending the abolition of Para-3, she wrote that the abolition of this para would also do away with the fear of Hindu Scheduled Castes that they could not adopt any other religion of their choice.

We consider this unconstitutional and unjust black law against the fundamental rights given in the Constitution of India and against the secular nature of Indian society and demand from the government of India to abolish this black law immediately.

In this context, we appeal to all the voters when any candidate seeks vote from them, they should support him on the condition that the candidate would make sincere efforts for abolition of Para-3. The candidate who does not favour the abolition of this religious discrimination should be told that they would not vote for them.

We appeal to all the organisations to start working among voters in their respective areas for making this resolution effective.

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