A day after the All India Confederation of SC, ST Organisations (AICSO) asked Dalits to keep away from Anna’s agitation, parties identified with Dalit politics dubbed the movement as anti-backward classes and anti-reservation.
While the Dalit protest was unfolding at India Gate, a corruption debate in Parliament turned into one on ‘protection of reservations’.
In Rajya Sabha, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan said Hazare’s campaign was raising doubts and concerns among Dalits and minorities.
“People from SC, ST and OBC communities are afraid if similar movements will be launched to take away reservation and other benefits provided to them by the Constitution.”
Paswan’s concern found chorus in Lok Sabha where BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan said Dalits had been left out of the Lokpal Bill. “We will not allow tampering of the Constitution," Chauhan said, adding, “discrimination against Dalits is also a form of corruption”.
AICSO took out its ‘Save Constitution’ rally against the Hazare campaign. Udit Raj, chairman AISCO said the rally was to protect the constitutional safeguards for SC/STs, which, he alleged, Team Anna was trying to “dismantle”.
“It is being propagated that the nation is with Anna. Then, how is it possible that out of nearly 85% population constituted by Dalits and OBCs there is none in their company,” Raj said.
The organisation points to the involvement of Youth for Equality, an organisation opposed to reservations in central educational institutions, in the Hazare campaign.
Dalit intellectuals from JNU and Delhi University criticised Hazare’s methods. “The agitation is not representative, both caste and issue wise. They lack confidence in the Constitution and question Parliament, which gave a political identity to SCs and STs,” said Vivek Kumar, associate professor, JNU.
“Our attempt is to inform the nation about the real intentions behind the corruption camouflage used by Team Anna.”
“There are no honest people there. This movement is latently against reservation and the interests of other backward classes,” Raj added.