Scheduled caste Hindus to carry out long march in Karachi next month

Bheel, Kohli, Baghari and Meghwar communities feel isolated, says Adivasi Council’s founding member


SHEHARYAR ALI March 23, 2017
People belonging to the scheduled caste mostly find jobs as cobblers, tailors or farmers. DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

KARACHI: A council of scheduled caste Hindus, named Adivasi Council, has decided to organise a long march in Karachi next month to put forward their demands before the government.

The Adivasi Council was founded a few months ago. They carried out a long march from Badin till Hyderabad from March 14 till March 19, where they finally presented their charter of demands, which included the open election on the reserved seats of minorities.

A founding member of the Adivasi Council, Ranshaal Daas Kohli, told The Express Tribune that they have been struggling for the rights of indigenous communities of this land. According to him, most of the indigenous communities are deprived of their rights as there is no proper forum or representation for them where they can express their grievances.

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Kohli added that scheduled castes, which include the Bheel, Kohli, Baghari and Meghwar, are among those indigenous groups belonging to the Hindu community who feel isolated in society as they do not have proper representation. "We are the aboriginals – our ancestors have lived here for centuries, however, now we are of no importance."

The main reason behind this isolation is that most of the individuals elected on minorities’ reserved seats belong to the upper castes of Hindus who literally do not care about us, said Kohli. He added that they demand open elections on reserved seats as most of the Hindu population comprises scheduled caste people but only people belonging from upper caste enjoy positions in the political setup.

Kohli said that this is not their only demand but it is the one of utmost importance. “We also want an increase in the seats for minorities,” he said. “Also, the government should think about bringing the indigenous communities into mainstream politics by providing a fair share in the electoral politics of the country. We also want bright future of our children working as doctors and engineers in the future. But this does not seem to be happening in the near future.”

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Talking to The Express Tribune, he said the Hindu organisations did nothing for them, which is why they had to form Adivasi Council five months ago to highlight their issues.

The Adivasi Council also demanded the inclusion of heroes belonging to minorities in the curriculum to promote the native people of this land. The amendment in Sindh Tenancy Act, 1950, must also be carried out to ease the miseries of peasants in the province.

Meanwhile, Khatumal Jeevan, a minority MPA belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party who is a special assistant to CM on minorities affairs, told The Express Tribune that it is not right to say that scheduled caste are backward or have no representation. “I belong to scheduled caste and have been elected several times to the assembly on reserved seats.”

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