With Karnataka government's monsoon session set to begin from June 5 for a period of ten days, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters on Wednesday that the government is mulling giving Scheduled Caste (SC) status to some Bangladeshi migrants in the state.
In a press briefing, Minister Jayachandra said that the cabinet will recommend the Centre to include Namasudra, Pod/Poundra and Rajbanshi castes in the list of SC in Karnataka. However, this will be restricted to Bangladeshi migrants living in Sindhanur taluk in Raichur district, The New Indian Express reports.
According to government data, the state of Karnataka has categorised as many as 101 castes in the SC list and another 50 into Scheduled Tribes list.
While Namasudra caste is recognised as a Scheduled Caste is states including Assam, Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal, it is not so in the state of Karnataka.
In Assam, Namasudra is one among the 16 Scheduled Castes.
Speaking about the cabinet's decision, Minister Jayachandra said that the people belonging to these three castes have been settled in Karnataka since 1964 and they also possess Indian citizenship.
According to the minister, 8,024 Namasudra community members, 118 Paundra members and 107 Rajbanshi members has settled in the state.
In a report published by The Times of India in February 2016, reporter Chethan Kumar visited the region in Raichur where Bangladeshi migrants had settled over four decades ago.
According to the report, about 85% of the people residing there belonged to Namasudra caste, while 6% of them are Kshatriyas.
Officials estimates by the central government pins the number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants at two crore. In Karnataka alone, there were 283 illegal Bangladeshi migrants, Home Minister G Parameshwara had said in November last year.