Claiming that extending reservation in government jobs to Dalits of minority communities would encourage conversions, Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot today said the Centre has told a court that it was "not agreeable to" granting them such rights.
Strongly opposing recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission and the Sachar Committee for reservation to Dalits of Christian and Muslim minority communities, he told a gathering at a Hindu leadership conclave here that there is no provision in the Constitution to grant reservation to Dalits who convert to other religions.
The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment also said any such step would "weaken the Hindu religion". "Our government has given in writing to a court rpt court that it does not agree with the reports of the Ranganath Mishra Commission or the Sachar Committee.
"We won't accord Scheduled Caste status to those who have converted. We are following the Constitution in letter and spirit," Gehlot said at the function, organised by the Hindu Aikya Vedi, a Sangh Parivar outfit in Kerala.
He noted that reservation was provided to Dalits in Hindu community to uplift them socially and economically from the ill-practise of untouchability and said such a practise does not exist in Christian and Muslim communities. So those who converted to these religions should not be granted SC status.
"Granting Scheduled Caste status to those belonging to minority communities will encourage conversion and weaken the Hindu religion. There is also no such provision in the Constitution," Gehlot observed.
He also accused Congress of plotting to reduce quotas for SCs, STs and OBCs to benefit minority communities. General Secretary of Hindu Aikya Vedi E S Biju said the Centre's decision opposing reservation has been given to the Supreme Court. It was one of the major demands of the Hindu organisations, he told PTI.
The Justice Sachar Committee was constituted by non-BJP government to prepare a report on the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in the country.
The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission was formed to identify the criteria for socially and economically backward classes among religious and linguistic minorities and suggest various welfare measures for minorities, including reservation.
Both reports of the Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Commission had revealed that Muslims in India are the most backward community, despite their rich cultural heritage and strong numerical presence.