Hyderabad: Reservation movements are slowly gaining momentum in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, with the ruling parties not moving on their election-time promises after coming to power.
TD president N. Chandrababu Naidu had promised to provide reservations in education and jobs for the Kapu community during the 2014 election campaign. TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao had promised 12 per cent reservations to Muslims in the election manifesto.
The Kapu Nadu and Kapu Reservations Porata Samiti have begun a legal battle and plan to launch a peoples’ movement for inclusion of Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities in the Backward Classes list. In Telangana, the BC Katika Quraishi Caste Association has moved the Hyderabad High Court.
Shaik Ahamed Quraishi, founder general secretary of the association, said the government had included the Arekatika, Katika and Are-Suryavamshi castes in the BC-D group but had omitted the Katika Quraishis though the community practices the same profession as the other three. He said the Katika Quraishi caste was included in the BC list by the AP government in 1986 along with nine others. That inclusion was stuck down by the High Court for exceeding the limit of 25 per cent reservations for BCs. The court did not fault the inclusion of the community in the BCs list, he said.
He said the National Commission for Backward Classes had recommended the inclusion of the caste into the BCs list and the Union Cabinet had approved the measure. Despite this, both the TS and AP governments had not included the community in the BCs list, which is why the association had moved the High Court.
Affan Quadri, secretary of the Mehar Foundation, said it would launch a movement to pressurise the Telangana state government to fulfil its promise of providing 12 per cent reservations to Muslims.
The government had set up a committee to study the economic, social and educational backwardness among Muslims to build the base for reservations before constituting the BC Commission, but the delay in the process will lead to loss of opportunities in the ongoing state recruitments, he added.
In AP, Dr K.V.K. Rao, chairman, Kapu Reservations Porata Samiti, said there was unrest in the community as the government was conducting an inquiry for inclusion of the Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities in the BC list. The samiti has moved the High Court. “We are also planning a massive people’s movement in AP to achieve our demand,” Mr Rao said.
In and out, Kapus fight for quotas
The Kapu, Balija, Telaga and Ontari communities, which were grouped as one class under the broad category of Telaga, have been in and out of the Backward Classes over the last 100 years. The four communities were listed as BCs from 1915 but were removed from the list in 1956. They were brought back into the list five years later, but excluded in 1966. The community has been fighting for re-inclusion since then.
According to Dr K.V.K. Rao, people generally referred to as Kapus along with the sub-castes are socially and educationally backward. They are involved in various occupations primarily in the unorganised sector. The people of the community are engaged in odd jobs and professions; many are peasants and farm labour. A majority of the population does not have a presence in the organised sectors, which are considered dignified in the social hierarchy of communities, he said.
Dr Rao said that for years, various community organisations had been trying to secure an inquiry and recognition of the Kapu community and its sub-castes as “socially and educationally backward classes”. A series of representations had been periodically addressed to the government, he said.
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