Why is  #RemoveUsFromScheduleCaste trending on Twitter today?

Devendra Kula Vellalar community leaders want to be removed from the Scheduled Caste list

Dr K Krishnasamy chief of Puthiya Tamilagam party
Puthiya Tamilagam party president Dr K Krishnaswamy

When usual caste related conversations in india revolve around reservations, and battle lines are drawn between those who are for it or against. However when a hashtag ‘RemoveUsFromScheduleCaste’ trends it throws up yet another debate. Dr K Krishnasamy chief of Puthiya Tamilagam party, has once again declared that the Devendra Kula Vellalar community is on a warpath. The ex-MLA has been demanding that the Devendra Kula Vellalars community be removed from the Scheduled Caste list. 

According to a report in the Free Press Journal, the demand to be excluded from the list of scheduled castes was last trending online in October 2020. The Devendra Kula Vellalar community from Tamil Nadu has also been asking for regrouping and renaming – Pallar, Pannadi, Kudumbar, Kaalaadi, Muppar and Devendrakulathar – under one title ‘Devendra Kula Vellalars’. 

Community leader Dr K Krishnasamy has often stated they want to be removed from the SC list because they feel it is an “imposed identity.” In the past, Dr K Krishnasamy has raided the issue holding agitations, hunger strikes, writing to state governments. Another rally was scheduled to be held in Madurai on January 6 2021. To raise awareness their online campaign  #RemoveUsFromScheduleCaste has also been revived.

As explained by news reports, the Puthiya Tamilagam Party’s youth wing leader Shyam Krishnasamy, has stated in the past that “people are demanding the removal as they believe it is a mistake to add a farming community in SC”. It has also been reported that the community believes that the SC tag denies them any “upward mobility”. Many, especially those subscribing to the right-wing school of politics are seeing this as a move to shun reservations and seek ‘self-respect’.

 As reported by The News Minute, the Puthiya Tamilagam party, founded in 1997, primarily seeks to protect the rights of the Devendra Kula Vellalar community in TN, where the community is a part of the Scheduled Caste List. The News Minute had reported that in August 2015, the then Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah had “supported the demand from some sections of the Devendra Kula Vellalars to recognise them as a distinct sub-sect under the Most Backward Class category at a public meeting in Madurai.” And a delegation of community members even met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2015, seeking their community to be renamed. According to TNM, PM Modi had “assured the community that he was sensitive to their demands and requested the state government and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to review the matter.” However, that promise seems to have been put on the backburner for now.



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