Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday rooted for inclusion of the economically and socially downtrodden sections among the Muslims in the Scheduled Caste (SC) list, but acknowledged that the change could only be brought about by the central government.
“I feel that the lower segments among the Muslims should be included among the Scheduled Castes. At present they are among the Extremely Backward Castes (EBC). I have been in favour of this demand from the time I was a member of the Lok Sabha. I had often spoken in its support in Parliament,” Nitish said.
The chief minister conceded that fulfilling the demand for including Muslims from the lower sections in the SC list was not in the hands of the state as it came “under the purview of the central government”.
Nitish was speaking at a programme organised by the industries department to mark National Handloom Day.
The issue came up after a girl present at the event marched up to Nitish and demanded inclusion of the Ansari caste among the Muslims in the SC list, as well as 11 per cent reservation for them in the segment. The chief minister allowed her to voice her demand from the dais.
Nitish advised the girl, whose name could not be ascertained, not to demand reservation only for the Ansari caste as many others were associated with the handloom sector.
“There are many castes working in the handloom sector, including Ansari, Darjee (tailor), Tatwa, Tanti and others. If you have to demand SC status, don’t do so only for the Ansari caste, but demand it for all of them,” he said.
Nitish then came out in support of the girl’s demand. “She has done the right thing by raising the issue. Demands should be continuously made. It will help create an atmosphere in support of the demand today or tomorrow,” he said.
Nitish asserted that the state government had taken several initiatives to develop the handloom sector and the people engaged in it. He assured all help to them.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, industries minister Jai Kumar Singh, health minister Mangal Pandey, development commissioner Shashi Shekhar Sharma, industries department principal secretary S. Siddharth, Bihar State Handloom Cooperatives Union chairman Naquib Ahmad and several others were present at the event.
Courtesy: The Telegraph