14 Gurjars dead for want of data
Today, 14 people including 13 Gurjars and 1 policeman died in police firing on an unruly mob of over 50,000 in Dausa district of Rajasthan. The reason behind the protests is this : Gurjars want to move from the OBC group to the ST group.
Lets scratch the surface,
The Gurjar community is up in arms once again and has called for roadblocks across Dausa, Tonk, Karauli, Jaipur and Ajmer demanding that their OBC status be changed to ST status. Gurjars have been demanding a change in status to avoid competing with Jats, who have been drawn into the OBC fold.
Source : Times Now
The problem is two fold,
1. Did the inclusion of Jats (and others) in the OBC fold adversely affect the Gurjars ?
2. Were the Gurjars spatially and culturally isolated from the rest of India ? This is a must for ST status.
You will notice that I have deliberately ignored the most obvious question, “Are the Gurjars and Jats socially and educationally backward based on a contemporary measurement ?” I have concluded that this question, which should be most fundamental is now a polemic. Just asking this question is so inflammatory that is borders on slander. Anyway, that is an old story now for readers of this blog.
The sad truth is that in the absence of data this is the way to get social justice. The Gurjars simply have no other option. There is precedent in the south.
This caste violence may be new to the north, but we have see it all in TN. If you are shocked by the death of 13 Gurjars, I have a story to tell you.
In 1987, 23 young men had to lay down their lives in police firing demanding the 20% quota for Vanniers in Cudallore district. TN also saw more than its share of similar protests by the Vanniers like blocking highways and trains. The Gurjar protest is almost like a replay. This eventually culminated in a victory for PMK and its founder Dr Ramadoss, who spearheaded the campaign. The TN style victory may not be possible in other states, because the then DMK government was able to mollify the agitating Vanniers by taking a bite from the general category. [ EDIT : The above statement is not correct – In 1990, the BC quota was already at 50% and total quota at 69%. The Vannier agitation took a chunk out of the BC quota of 50%. The SC/ST/Open Category was not affected. It is to be noted that both Ramdoss and Karunanidhis castes were classified as MBCs] Thanks to Dr Bruno for pointing this out (see comments)
Consider this :
What if the Gurjars demands are actually just ? What if data had been collected and it showed that they were indeed pushed out by inclusion of other powerful communities in the OBC list ?
Worse still, what if there exists hundreds of other smaller communities who do not have the numbers to stage a protest of this scale ? Is it their fate to sell pots and clay statues beside highways and to live like nomads in tents ?
We are waiting for you, Honble Supreme Court. You must tell us unambiguously what the group “OBC” means. Where are the checks ?