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UP government approves inclusion of 17 backward castes in Scheduled Castes list

Playing The Caste Card Months Ahead Of The Assembly Election, The Akhilesh Yadav Government On Thursday Approved Inclusion Of 17 Other Backward Classes (OBCs) In The Scheduled Castes (SC) List, Despite The Allahabad High Court Having Earlier Struck Down A Similar Move.

PTI | Updated on: 22 Dec 2016, 11:46:55 PM
Akhilesh Yadav (Pic: Getty)


Playing the caste card months ahead of the Assembly election, the Akhilesh Yadav government on Thursday approved inclusion of 17 Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list, despite the Allahabad High Court having earlier struck down a similar move.

A major contender for power, BSP supremo Mayawati swiftly went on the offensive dubbing it as “mere drama” and an attempt to “deceive” these castes as the power to include any caste in the SC list was vested with the Centre.

In an apparent bid to woo the OBCs ahead of the potentially tough electoral contest, Akhilesh Yadav chaired a meeting of the state Cabinet which cleared a proposal in this regard. The proposal will now be sent to the Centre for approval.

The 17 sub-castes which the government wants included in the SC category are Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar, Godia and Machua.

Mayawati termed the move as “mere drama” and a decision which was both “unfortunate and condemnable”, and aimed at “deceiving” these communities.

“After having neglected all the backward castes barring one in the past five years of its rule, the SP government is out to mislead them in the same way as was done by the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government,” she said in a statement.

“The UP Cabinet’s assent for inclusion of 17 OBCs in the SC list is a mere drama played out just before the Assembly elections in the state,” Mayawati said, adding “it is both unfortunate and condemnable and aimed at deceiving these castes.”

She said the decision is against the law as as the power to include any caste in the SC list was vested with the Union government.

Earlier in March 2013, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly had passed a resolution recommending the Centre to include the 17 castes of the state in the SC list.

The resolution had said a detailed study by UP SC/ST Research and Training Institute found these 17 castes “deserving” to be included in the SC list.

The Mulayam Singh Yadav government too had passed a Cabinet resolution in February 2004 and sent it to the Centre for clearance.

Later, Mulayam went ahead and issued a government order on October 10, 2005 giving SC benefits to these castes, which was, however, struck down by the High Court.

After Mulayam government’s decision on this issue, these castes were “left in the lurch” for they then belonged neither to the OBC nor the SC category.

Mayawati claimed that the BSP government which succeeded the Mulayam Singh Yadav dispensation brought these castes back into the OBC list and sent a proposal to the Centre for including them in the SC list only on the condition of increasing the SC quota. 

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First Published : 22 Dec 2016, 11:45:00 PM