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SC, ST, OBC markings seen on chests of recruits, MP police order probe

Dhar superintendent of police Birendra Kumar Singh said there was no instruction to mention the caste of a candidate on his chest.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2018 23:56 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Dhar
Caste markings,Madhya Pradesh,caste system
Candidates with ‘SC’ and ‘ST’ marked on their chests seen during a medical examination in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh.(HT Photo)

A probe was ordered on Sunday after photographs surfaced of newly recruited constables with markings of “SC”, “ST” and “O” for OBC on their chests during their medical examination in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district, triggering accusations of caste-based segregation.

Dhar superintendent of police Birendra Kumar Singh said there was no instruction to mention the caste of a candidate on his chest.

“An inquiry has been initiated. Those found guilty will be punished,” he said.

District officials, who did not want to be named, explained that the initials — SC for scheduled caste, ST for scheduled tribe and O for OBC, or other backward class — were put on the chests of male candidates from these categories as they have different selection norms under the reservation policy.

This, they said, was done to identify one section of candidates from the other and avoid any mix-up.

State director general of police (DGP) Rishi Kumar Shukla acknowledged as much, saying there was no bad intention in the move but should have been avoided.

“It was a precautionary measure to ensure there was transparency in the physical measurements for these categories,” he said. “I have given instructions to the district police to remove the markings, if any, and to ensure there is no recurrence.”

People familiar with the mandatory medical examination pointed out that a candidate belonging to the general category, OBC and SC should be 168 centimetres tall.

ST candidates should be 160 centimetres tall and there is also a relaxation in their chest measurement norms.

According to state health department sources familiar with the matter, the medical examination of more than 300 recruits to the district police and special armed force in Dhar began at the government hospital on Wednesday.

Apparently, none of the candidates lodged a complaint. But photographs of candidates with the chest markings leaked on Saturday and reported by the media, causing a flutter in the administration.

RC Panika, the chief medical and health officer of Dhar, said they were trying to find out how this happened.

The test was conducted by a medical board headed by Dr Sushil Kumar Khare, a civil surgeon at the district hospital. Khare said the markings were not put by the health department.

“We conduct medical examination of the candidates sent by the police department. We sit in a hall and each candidate is taken before a doctor as per schedule and he is accompanied by a constable,” the civil surgeon said, giving the specifics.

“I pointed out when I saw the ‘O’ written on the chest of a candidate. I was told by the policeman that ‘O’ is for OBC. I think it was done by the police department to identify the candidates from different sections and avoid a mix-up,” Khare said.

Indresh Gajbhiye, president of the Ambedkar Shodh Sansthan, said the markings violated human rights and are also a criminal offence under the SC/ST prevention of atrocities act.

“Such branding amounted to atrocities on the constables. The guilty must be punished,” he demanded.

Additional chief secretary (home), KK Singh, said he was not aware that such a thing had happened.

(With input from Chhotu Shastri from Dhar)

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 17:38 IST