CM Siddaramaiah eager to accept ‘caste census’; Deputy CM Shivakumar, pontiffs pass resolution to reject it

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November 22, 2023

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said his decision to do justice to the disadvantaged communities, by accepting the report of the Socio-Economic and Education Survey, popularly known as the "caste census", is unwavering. His statement is seen as significant as the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes chairperson is expected to submit the report to the state government this month.

"I fully agree with our proud leader Rahul Gandhi's stand. I feel that the country's independence will be meaningful only when the caste census is conducted across the country and based on its report, "equal share for all - equal rights for all" is ensured," Siddaramaiah posted on 'X'.

"My decision to do justice to the disadvantaged communities, by accepting the report of the Economic, Social and Educational Survey conducted by our previous government, is unwavering," he said while commenting on Gandhi's statement regarding conducting caste census at the national level if the Congress forms the government at the Centre.

Raising the caste census pitch, describing it as an 'X-ray' of the country, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, while addressing an election rally in Udaipur, said the Congress will conduct caste census in Rajasthan if it comes to power and also do so at the national level if it's voted to office at the Centre.

With pressure mounting on his government, from a certain section, to make public the state's socio-economic and educational survey, following Bihar government releasing findings of its caste survey recently, Siddaramaiah had so far been maintaining that a decision will be taken once he receives the report -- which is expected later this month.

The then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2015 had commissioned the social-economic and educational survey, at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore in the state, the findings of which have not been made public yet.

The state Backward Classes Commission under its then chairperson H Kantharaj was tasked with preparing a caste census report.

However, with strong disapproval from two dominant communities -- Lingayats and Vokkaligas -- the survey report may turn out to be a political hot potato for the government, as it may set the stage for a confrontation, with Dalits and OBCs among others demanding for it to be made public.

Lingayats, led by All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, which is the apex body of Veerashaiva-Lingayats, have expressed disapproval about the survey calling it unscientific, and demanded conduct of a fresh survey; while Vokkaliga leaders at a meeting, which was also attended by Deputy CM D K Shivakumar and prominent seers from the community recently, passed a resolution urging the government to "reject" the caste census.

On the other hand, federations representing Dalits, tribals and other backward classes (OBC) have demanded that the findings of a caste census, kept under wraps, be made public.

Accusing both the dominant communities of trying to block the caste census from coming out, leaders of the Karnataka State Backward Castes Federation and the Karnataka Marginalised Communities Federation have threatened to hold agitations.

On his part, K Jayaprakash Hegde, the current chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, has already said he would submit the caste census report to the state government in November.

According to some analysts, successive governments have been shying away from releasing it as the findings of the survey are allegedly contrary to the "traditional perception" of the numerical strength of various castes in Karnataka, especially the dominant Lingayats and Vokkaligas, making it a political hot potato.

Political parties in the state have indulged in a blame game for not accepting the survey and not making it public.

Officials have also cited the then member-secretary of the State Commission for Backward Classes not signing the final report, as the technical hurdle that has hindered the release of the report earlier.

They said the caste census report is currently with the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, and once it submits it, the cabinet would take a call.

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News Network
February 28,2024

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Mangaluru, Feb 28: A young entrepreneur, who was looking after a private bus business alleged killed himself by hanging at his residence at JM Road in the city. 

The deceased has been identified as Prajwal D (35), hailing from Bajal in Mangaluru. He was the second son of late Devendra, the proprietor of Bhavani bus. 

Prajwal’s brother was the actual owner of the bus. Prajwal too was looking after the business. 

The clear cause of Prajwal’s extreme step is not known. As he had taken a bank loan, it is said that the bank authorities were asking him to return the amount. 

Police have said that a suspicious death case has been registered in this connection. The deceased has left behind his wife and a four-year-old child.

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News Network
February 29,2024

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Shimla, Feb 29: Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs who defied the party whip to vote in favour of the government on the Finance Bill in the House.

The disqualified MLAs are Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Devinder Kumar Bhutoo, Ravi Thakur and Chetanya Sharma.

Addressing reporters here, Pathania, who had reserved his verdict on the disqualification of the MLAs on Wednesday, said the legislators attracted the anti-defection law by defying the Congress whip as they were elected on the party's tickets.

"These six MLAs are disqualified and cease to be members of Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly with immediate effect," the Speaker said.

These MLAs had cross-voted in favour of BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha elections on Tuesday. Later, they abstained from voting on the budget in the assembly.

The House passed the Finance Bill by voice vote after Pathania suspended 15 BJP MLAs. The Speaker then adjourned the session sine die.

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News Network
February 26,2024

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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has announced the resignation of his government due to the Israeli regime’s relentless ground and air strikes against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, and escalating violence in the occupied West Bank.

“This decision comes in light of the political, security, and economic developments related to the aggression against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank, including in the city of al-Quds,” Shtayyeh, who submitted his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, said at a weekly cabinet session in the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.

He added that the decision to resign was made because of what Palestinians, their cause and their political system are experiencing amid ferocious and unprecedented Israeli aggression, genocide, attempts at forced displacement and starvation in Gaza, besides intensified settler terrorism, repeated incursions into West Bank towns and villages.

He also referred to unprecedented financial strangulation, attempts to liquidate the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees (UNRWA), repudiation of all signed agreements, gradual annexation of Palestinian lands, and bids to turn the Palestinian Authority into an administrative apparatus with no political weight.

Shtayyeh stressed that Palestinians will remain on the path of confronting the occupying Israeli regime, asserting that the Palestinian Authority will continue to struggle to establish a sovereign independent state on Palestinian lands.

Shtayyeh, who was appointed as prime minister in 2019, said in October that the current US administration doesn’t have the political will to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “They’re managing it,” he said.

The Israeli Knesset voted on Wednesday to support prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of an independent Palestinian state. Earlier, the Israeli cabinet had approved a declaration, rejecting any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state of their own in the Gaza Strip and West Bank with East al-Quds as its capital.

Israel occupied East al-Quds during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming all of al-Quds as its “eternal and undivided” capital in a move never recognized by the international community.

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