Scheduled Castes of all religions should enjoy benefits: Jayalalithaa

Chennai, Aug 9 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Friday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring in necessary laws to include all Scheduled Castes (SC), regardless of their religion, under the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.

In a letter to Manmohan Singh, the text of which was released to the media here, Jayalalithaa said: "The social tensions over the unbalanced growth between the Hindu Scheduled Castes and the Christian converts have only aggravated over time, and the sense of alienation amongst the minority communities has further deepened."

She said the matter cannot be delayed further and SC Christians should be treated on par with Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists, and should be included in the list of Scheduled Castes annexed to the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.

"To enable this, as recommended by the Ranganath Misra Commission, para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, must be deleted," she said.

She said necessary legislation should be brought during the current session of parliament.

"The position of Scheduled Castes persons belonging to the minority religions is very similar to Scheduled Castes persons professing Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. Yet, they are being unfairly kept out of the purview of the constitutional scheme of protection and reservation envisaged by the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950," Jayalalithaa said.

According to her, a sizeable population of SC Christians has been "excluded and remains outside the purview of all the centrally assisted welfare and ameliorative measures and, most importantly, is excluded from the benefit of reservation in educational institutions and employment in public services for the Scheduled Castes."

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