Published On: Sat, Mar 4th, 2023

RSS affiliates to submit report on Dalit converts to Balakrishnan Commission

Kicking-off a two-day conclave on “Conversion and Reservation” on Saturday, the Vishwa Samvad Kendra, an outfit linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said that it intends to submit a report to the Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Commission, which is currently tasked with examining whether Scheduled Caste (SC) status can be accorded to Dalit Christians and Muslims. 

Amid long-standing demands for inclusion in the SC list, the Union government in October 2022 formed the Commission of Inquiry to examine the issue and asked it to also consider objections to the demands from other sections of society and the impact of inclusion on existing SC communities. 

With the Commission currently in the middle of a literature review, and openly seeking research and studies that could help them, the VSK’s conclave intends to collate academic literature on its and the Sangh Parivar’s position on the issue and submit this report to the Commission. 

The conclave has seen about 60 papers being submitted by academics from universities all over the country, dozens of which are slated to be presented and discussed during the two-day event being held in collaboration with the Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida. Many of the academics attending the conclave on Saturday were already affiliated to the RSS, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or other Sangh Parivar outfits.

‘Untouchability among Hindus only’

The papers presented will be discussed in nine separate sessions, which will cover different subsets under the theme of conversion and reservation, such as the history, development and evolution of Scheduled Castes and reservation; the Constitution and reservation; and caste in Abrahamic religions. 

At the inaugural session on Saturday, Alok Kumar, Senior Advocate and Central Working President of the VHP said that the history of reservation had shown that SC status is related to the practice of untouchability, which was unfortunately a feature “only of Hindu society”. He added that Islam and Christianity had made claims of being casteless, but now were saying something else. “They can’t have it both ways,” he said.

“We should make it clear through this conclave that under no circumstances are we in favour of providing reservation for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims,” said Bihar BJP leader Sanjay Paswan, as the small auditorium of academics erupted in applause. 


Interestingly, when Narendra Jadhav, former Rajya Sabha MP and ex-Planning Commission Member, rose to assert that untouchability is observed in religions like Islam and Christianity as well to favour reservation for Dalit Christians and Muslims, he turned heads. Senior members of the RSS, VSK and VHP present at the conclave said that his statement was “unnecessary”. 

Professor Jadhav, however, made it a point to add that reservation for Dalit Christians and Muslims should be considered only after examining the size of the population that faces the discrimination faced by Hindu Dalits. “And more importantly, it is necessary to ensure that reservations for existing SC communities are not affected,” he said. 

The three-member Justice Balakrishnan Commission has been given a two-year deadline to finish its study and submit a report to the government. Meanwhile, petitions seeking inclusion of Dalit Christians and Muslims in the SC list remain pending in the top court, where the Union government has also said it is not in favour of their inclusion. 

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