SP includes SCs in its recommended list of backward castes

Turaiha and Gond are already in the list of SCs for Uttar Pradesh.

Of the "17 backward castes" which the Samajwadi Party (SP) wants the Centre to include in the list of Scheduled Castes, two castes — Turaiha and Gond — are already in the list of SCs for Uttar Pradesh. Objecting to the ruling party wrongly describing them as backwards, the leaders of these castes have decided to hold protests.

Vyasji Gond, UP president of Akhil Bharatiya Gond Mahasabha, said his organisation has given a call for a day-long protest on Saturday to get the name of their caste excluded from the list of 17 mentioned by SP leaders as backward castes. "Our caste has never been in the OBC list, but still the SP leaders are saying this. I have complained to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP president (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and they listened to my objection but nothing has changed. There are about 80 lakh people belonging to my community in the state and they are being falsely described as OBCs. We will hold the protest on Saturday across the state and if nothing changes then we will go to court," Gond told The Indian Express over phone.

He said: "It was during the government of late Indira Gandhi on July 27, 1976, that Gonds were declared a Scheduled Caste in the whole of UP. In 2003, the NDA government, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, gave them Scheduled Tribe status in 13 districts of Eastern UP."

According to the list of Scheduled Tribes in UP, available on the website of the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Gond is a tribe in 13 districts, namely Mahrajganj, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Mau, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra.

The list of SCs in UP, available on the website of the Ministry of Social Justice, shows the Gonds as Scheduled Caste, except in the 13 districts where they have the ST status.

The SP leaders have been saying that they will recommend to the Centre to include 17 backward castes in the list of SCs. These 17 castes are Kahar, Kashyap, Dhivar, Dhimar, Kevat, Mallah, Nishad, Bind, Gond, Kumhar, Prajapati, Bhar, Rajbhar, Machhua, Manjhi, Turaiha and Batham.

In order to gather support of these castes for their move, the party is organising a rally at its state headquarters on Saturday, which will be addressed by Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh.

Similarly, Turaiha is another caste which already exists in the list of SCs for UP. Lautan Ram Nishad, national secretary of the National Association of Fishermen, said the Turaiha caste already exists in the list of 66 Scheduled Castes recongnised in UP.

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