Reality Check India

No ST status for you, no data for anyone !

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on November 27, 2007

So, everyone has heard about the clashes in Assam.  Why are groups of people so angry ? Worse still, why are they fighting each other. What happened to the good old days of fighting the government ?

The reason : Tribals who were brought to Assam from central India decades ago have been demanding ST status for a long time now. The local tribes oppose this because they fear losing their “portion” of the pie. As if that were not enough, Muslims who constitute 30% of Assam have been demanding OBC status for a long time. Emotions are simmering.


In this instance, Mr Shivraj Patil says  –

Quoting from observations of the Registrar General of India and the Backward Class Commission, Patil said, “The local committee and RGI have said back in 1965 that they can only be granted Backward status and not ST status as many of these tribes have lost their tribal characteristics in their present surroundings.”

Source : IBNLIVE

 Another report :

Patil said, “By turning violent, these tribals have lost their tribal bearings.” He also said these tribals do not have ST status even in their own states.

Source : Zeenews

Mr Shivraj Patil backed by the Congress Party gets to wave a magic wand and instantly people are denied a honest evaluation of their claim to a share of the social justice pie.  By indulging in violence, can a group lose claim to tribal status ? What does “home state” mean anymore ? These people have been in Assam for many decades (some even more than a hundred years).  

What happens now ?

The politicians have demonstrated in the Lok Sabha (with the notable exception of Mr Tathaghat Satpathy) that annoying things like data and monitoring of entitlement programs are not to be discussed. They impede the magical properties of the wand. With data,  you have to wave it ten times for it to work its magic. Without data, a simple wave is all it takes.

The courts too seem to be shy of insisting on data or monitoring. That leaves only jostling, pushing and shoving, and large scale violence as viable options to those who have the means. We need to remember that the really backward stonebreaker or night soil carrier does not have the framework needed to mobilize. So, to hell with them. No data for you. You have our finance minister’s life stories instead. You may also have a couple of leftist NGO types showing up at your huts for video footage.

Is that all ? No, Inter state relations get strained. We already hear that organizations in  Jharkhand have called for a bandh to protest the killings in Assam. So we have All Adivasis Students Union Vs All Jharkhand Students Union.

The solution

Snatch the magic wand from these political forces before the country is laid to waste. If the ST status is permanent and not dependent on current backwardness, leave it alone. That is a separate problem for another day. Make sure the protesting tea workers as well as the muslims of Assam are getting a reasonable share of the OBC quota in that state. 

For the 118th time : Data please !

Links :

Barbarindians (see the shocking picture in his post)



Various political entrepreneurs are waving sticks in the hope it turns into a magic wand. Old Frontline article containing a background of these groups. Even the Andamans are showing symptoms. Ramadoss holds a rally in Delhi asking for early implementation of the OBC quota.

2 Responses

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  1. reason said, on November 27, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    The front line article you linked to spoke of government ‘ad-hocism’ with regards to ST list in assam. Did you ever find any article in any of the hindu group of publications regarding the ‘ad-hocism’ in BC list, particularly in TN?

    It is very easy to collect a group and start a round of violence in India. That is a proven route to gaining political leadership of that group and establishing a vote bank. Has been done before. Think of PMK.

    How many participants in that tribal rally in assam would likely know about the exact benefits they would get if they get into the ST list? Assuming they get into the list, how many in that group would likely be able to really use the benefits – to get into a engineering or medical seat they need to complete higher secondary; to get even a class-d job in government, they need to complete SSLC. Does anyone have those numbers for this group of people?

    None of this appears really new to me – as much as these are tragic. But it is interesting that the run-up to Gujarat elections is being occupied by all manner of issues. Much as the english media would like to get set on their oust-Modi campaign, there are other head-line hogging issues coming up. And those issues all come up from places they would rather not want.

    How much do they criticize the government of assam for a law-and-order failure? its a congress government! Remember how the Gurjar violence was such a ‘major challenge’ to the BJP government of rajasthan?

    How much do they take on the comrades in Bengal on Nandigram or Taslima? It was funny to see the channels avoid the word ‘riot’ during last wednesday ‘protests’ in calcutta. They said every thing else – ‘protests’, may be ‘violent protests’, ‘pitched battles with police’. The CNN-IBN dude on the spot – had a mallu name and mallu accent – was pretty uncomfortable even talking about it – he said ‘latent displeasure’, ‘simmering discontent’ … all of that secular indoctrinations from kerala must have gnawed on his internals 🙂 { you may repeat your idea that the calcutta violence was because of bengal’s skewed BC list compared to TN; but the crowd itself did not mention that. if they wanted in to the BC list, i would expect them to riot with that demand – not burn effigies of taslima }

    The ELM would all really wish for a round of peace and quiet so they can get back more effectively to the business of Modi 🙂

  2. realitycheck said, on November 28, 2007 at 5:27 am

    We get to exploit Frontline and Hindu by linking to their stories – but never clicking on ads on their site and not actually buying their print media. We right wing racists are evil like that. Even worse, we buy “low brow” papers like DC.

    They are paying the price for selective scholarship. When political forces they oppose (right wingers / capitalists) are in power, they churn out scholarly stories full of facts such as the one linked in this post about Assam. These stories remain on line even after friendly powers are back in the saddle.

    As you have pointed out – their scholarly articles stops when it comes to issues such as the recent Christian or Muslim quota in TN – or the lack of data when the quota bill was passed. No adhoc-ims detected there, instead it is about judicial overreach.

    Check out the excellent expose at Offstumped about the bias in the media. Remarkable effort by Yossarin !!

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