They say a reservation system should be based on income and not on caste or religion

Inspired by Hardik upper caste Andhra groups campaign against reservationImage for representation
news Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 16:18

As Gujarat's Patidar community’s quota-campaign led by Hardik Patel continues to lose steam, another upper-caste movement has popped up in Andhra Pradesh, seeking to counter the reservation policy.

On September 9, a round table with representatives of seven upper castes was organized in Vijayawada, to discuss the adverse impact of reservations on the upper castes, especially in the field of education and employment.

The result? A joint action committee titled 'Agra Kula Ikya Vedika' with representatives of the seven upper castes, Brahmins, Khatriyas, Vysya, Kammas, Reddys, Velamas and Kapus have decided to fight against the present reservation system in the country.

"We're not demanding that the reservation system be abolished. We're just saying it should not depend on caste and religion," Agra Kula Ikya Vedika convenor and All India Brahmin Federation chief advisor Kota Sankara Sarma tells The News Minute.

The committee says a reservation system should be based on income and not on caste or religion. "The system is such that the poorest of the poor are in fact denied these privileges and castes that are under OBC enjoy and exploit the system, despite having enough money," Sankara adds.

Sankara adds that the decision to form the committee was long overdue but the recent Patel movement in Gujarat sped the process up.

"Everywhere we see, whether it is Hardik Patel in Gujarat, the Gujjars in Rajasthan or the Jats in Harayana, they are demanding for reservations on their caste. Why not demand for reservations based on income?" asks Sankara.

Hardik Patel, the convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), who is spearheading a movement in Gujarat demanding reservations under the Other Backward Caste (OBC) quota, recently vowed to take his movement nationwide.

The Gujjar agitation on the other hand, has been a ongoing demand to include their caste in  a lower Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, instead of their current, higher OBC (Other Backward Class) status.

After various negotiations, a massive agitation was launched in May this year.

The Rajasthan government last week, gave the green signal to draft legislations providing reservation in government jobs to members of the Gujjar community.

Jats in Haryana also are demanding for inclusion in the OBC quota and have threatened to launch an agitation in the state.

Though the previous government had accorded special backward class status to Jats in 2013, the decision was stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court last month.

The Agra Kula Ikya Vedika also feels that there is no need for the OBC category in the reservation system itself.

"There has got to be an end to this. The reservations cannot go on forever even as the talented youth from upper castes are suffering on account of lack of a level playing field. All SCs and STs are not poor and all upper castes are not affluent. This misnomer has to go,‚ÄĚ Sankara told The New Indian Express.