Antecedents of Dalit Christians’ Demands for Reservations
   27-Feb-2019
The issue of 'Reservations for Dalit Christians' has been doing the rounds since the last several decades. When the issue assumed serious dimensions in the 1990s, pseudo secular forces of all sorts rejoiced. They vied with one another to ‘espouse’ their cause. But RSS, BJP and other RSS-inspired organisatiions stood their ground with an iron will and steadfastly opposed it They smelt a rat in the proposal and found it as a conspiracy to weaken the Hindu society. No less a person than Rajju Bhaiyya alias Prof. Rajinder Singh, RSS Sarsaanghchalak from 1994 to 2000 rejected the proposal. While addressing an RSS samghikh in Tiruvananthapuram, Rajju Bhaiyya attacked the proposal in unequivocal terms.

 
 
The proposal has witnessed a long timeline of history. In 1990, the then Welfare Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, while passing the amendment bill to incude Neo Budhists in the list of the SC, that Dalit Christians would be the next group to be included in the list of communities eligible for reservations. Late Seetaram Kesari, a former Welfare Minister, declared on November 21, 1992, that the bill for the reservations for Dait Christians would be introduced immediately. He was addressing a large gathering in Vijayawada.
 
Christians of all denominations and Churches submitted a memorandum before the then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, demanding reservations for the Dalit Christians. The memorandum was submitted after a 90,000-strong rally in New Delhi. Rao gave them an assurance on March 3, 1994 at his residence in Delhi that it would be done. He repeated it on August 29, 1994 at Vijayawada. The same assurance was given by the then MoS for Welfare Thangabalu in Rajya Sabha on Aprl 29, 1994.
 
In fact, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao made an attempt to introduce the bill in Lok Sabha but in vain. The parliamentarians raised the question of procedural methods. Interestingly, Rao tried to introduce the bill during the afternoon hours of the day in March 1996. Actually, it was the last day of the last session of the parliament before the parliamentary elections of 1996. People wondered if Rao had even an iota of hope of getting the bill passed; obviously it was highly unlikely, because such a genius was a master in the realm of procedures.
 
Christian groups had organised a dharna in Delhi in April 1995 pressing for the Dalit Christian reservation bill. Hundreds of protesters had reached Delhi for it. When UF government took over in 1996, reservation for Dalit Christians was included in its programme. It was under the category of social justice. PM Deva Gowda had assured a Christian delegation that his government was committed to the bill. The promise was to introduce the bill during the monsoon session. BSP leader Kanshi Ram had assured his support. Congress leader V. Narayana Swamy MP (RS) too had promised the same.
 
Former RSS Sarsanghchalak Rajju Bhaiyya and RSS to the rescue
It is to be noted that Rajju Bhaiyya's words have made a lot of changes in the country. Since his speech in Tiruvananthapuram, the Dalits have found a saviour in him and his organisation. The leader of Kerala Pulaya Maha Sabha Adv. K.V. Kumaran, said it in a letter he wrote in Indian Express in one of those days. They realized that only RSS and BJP would help them when Congress, Communists and all other political parties were set to betray them.
 
Sangh and BJP workers gave their whole-hearted support to the Dalits' agitations for their genuine demand. As a part of their protests against the Dalit Christian reservations, KPMS and other Dalit organizations carried out a rail rokko campaign in Kerala in 1995. Family members of RSS workers provided them with food packets when they were engaged in the rail rokko.
 
Now, the people, by and large, know that RSS and inspired organisations have been the only groups to rub the shoulders with Dalit groups to oppose tooth and nail the sinister move for
the reservations for Dalit Christians.