His government arrested students who made exactly the same demand some months a go

Siddaramaiah says reservation in private sector necessary but hypocrisy much
news Monday, June 27, 2016 - 13:15

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah may say that he supports reservations in the private sector, but his government has booked cases against students who made precisely that same demand some months ago.

Speaking during a seminar organised by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission in Bengaluru on Saturday, Siddaramaiah said, “As a cascading effect of economic liberalization, employment opportunities are increasing in the private sector and it is necessary to claim reservation in that sector too.” He added that it took four decades for the backward castes to get reservations in education.

On February 3, the Bahujan Vidyarthi Sangha had organized a rally in Bengaluru, the first day of the Global Investors’ Meet (GIM). A number of students were arrested and lathicharged.

Several thousand students affiliated with the BVS had come to Bengaluru by train from across Karnataka to demand reservation in the private sector. Raising slogans, they began the rally from Bangalore City Railway Station in Majestic area and marched towards Freedom Park. Once there, the students demanded that either Siddaramaiah come to meet them, or that a delegation be allowed to meet him at the GIM.

The police suddenly lathicharged the students and severely injured several of them. About 40 students were booked under various sections and spent three days in jail.

In an interview in March, Karnataka convenor of the BVS, Hariram, told The News Minute that the students were booked for public disturbance, rioting, damage to public property. To add insult to injury, he said that some charges such as the use of inflammable material, rioting with weapons were simply cooked up.

Stating that no one supported Dalits, Hariram said that if farmers had been lathicharged or jailed during a protest, politicians would flock to meet them. “The farmers are mostly Vokkaliga and upper caste; politicians too belong to the same caste. We are poor, so no one cares. These students’ lives are probably going to be ruined because the government slapped cases on them. They didn’t do anything wrong.”

He said that the BVS is demanding affirmative action in the private sector because of the changing economic scenario and the government’s role in it.

“The government has reservations but no jobs. The private sector has employment but no reservation.” All over the country, not just Karnataka, the government as a source of employment was diminishing. “Existing jobs are being privatised while no new jobs are created,” Hariram said.

He said that affirmative action was necessary because the study by Sukhdeo Thorat clearly showed that private firms discriminate while hiring. “If a name sounds like that of a Dalit (on a resume), they don’t call you back,” Hariram said.

He said that the demand was only for reservation, not for the waiver of merit. “We just want our share of the pie. We aren’t asking them to hire people who are not competent,” Hariram said.

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