Skip to main content

Modi Cabinet awarded two Gujarat sub-castes OBC status amidst "violent" turn to Patels' reservation stir

Patel leader Hardik Patel with
VHP chief Pravin Togadia
By Our Representative
In an interesting turn, the Cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "cleared" four sub-castes to be included in the Government of India's list of other backward classes (OBCs). The move, said to be largely symbolic, comes amidst the powerful Patel agitation, which rocked Gujarat, for reservation within the OBC framework. Two of the sub-castes given the OBC category are from Gujarat, while the other two are from Uttarakhand.
The Patel reservation agitation, which took place in Ahmedabad on August 25 with the participation of over five lakh people, turned violent soon after its young leader, Hardik Patel, announced that he had decided to sit on hunger strike for demands of his community. He was picked up by the police, and those who had gathered around him were lathicharged. On August 26, violence erupted amidst Patel call for Gujarat banch, leading to the death of nine and damage to public and private property across the state.
Modi, an OBC by caste, said observers, has moved to provide OBC status to the four sub-castes with a clear eye on the forthcoming elections in Bihar, where he dare not displease the Yadavs, the numerically largest OBC group in the state. This is said to be one of the major reasons why none of the BJP leaders have supported the Patel agitation, even seeking to “look into” the Patel demand that says that either they should be given reservation or there shouldn’t be any reservation.
The move also comes amidst flutter among influential circles about the way Hardik Patel is moving ahead with his future plans. While intelligence sources have told Delhi that circles close to Modi’s veteran former bête noire Keshubhai Patel are supporting the Patel agitation in every possible way, a photograph is circulating showing Hardik with Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia, known to be a top Keshubhai supporter. Togadia, incidentally, is also a Patel.
A Government of India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) note said, Union Cabinet at its meeting presided over by Modi on August 26 “gave its approval for the amendments in the Central list of OBCs in respect of two states (Gujarat and Uttarakhand) for making suitable amendments in the Central list of OBCs by way of inclusion/correction of castes/communities as per the advice received from the National Commission for OBCs.”
Those who have been given OBC status are Sipai and Patni Jamat or Turk Jamat (all Muslims) from Gujarat, and Kahar and Tanwar Singhariya from Uttarakhand. "The amendments will enable the persons belonging to these castes/communities to avail the benefits of reservation in government services and posts as well as in central educational institutions as per the existing policy," the PIB’s official statement said.
The Gujarat sub-castes who have been awarded OBC status by Government of India have long been part of the OBC list in Gujarat, said a senior state official. "They have long been in the OBC list", said KG Vanzara, responsible for permitting individuals as OBCs. Critics have accused Vanzara of denying OBC status to those Muslim youth who claim to be genuine OBCs.
"They will also become eligible for benefit under various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central government, which are at present available to persons belonging to the OBCs," the statement added. The announcement came around the time Modi was appealing to people for peace, and Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel coming down heavily on Gujarat police for attacking Patidars allegedly without provocation.
Meanwhile, political circles are speculating that the Patel agitation was triggered by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat after he visited Surat on August 14. Circles in Gandhinagar quote BJP leaders as saying that Bhagwat met Patel diamond merchants during his Surat visit, where it was decided to "fund" the Patel agitation in a big way, and take it across India. Former BJP MLA from Rajkot Siddharth Parmar said, "The agitation was initiated by RSS, but went out of control. Now the RSS is worried."

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.