Video: Massive Protest Outside BS Yediyurappa's Home Over Reservation

Dramatic visuals showed police cracking down on hundreds of protesters from the Banjara community.


A massive demonstration and stone-pelting was reported outside the home of BJP veteran and former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka's Shivamogga district this afternoon.

Dramatic visuals showed police cracking down on hundreds of protesters from four communities -- Banjara, Korchi, Bovi and Kurmi. They were protesting against the Karnataka government's recent decision on reservation for Scheduled Castes. 

The Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government has recommended to the centre a new breakup of the reservation for Scheduled Castes in education and jobs. They have recommended that out of the 17 per cent reservation for the Scheduled Castes, 6 per cent be earmarked for Scheduled Castes (left), 5.5 per cent for Scheduled Castes (right), 4.5 per cent for "touchables" and one per cent to others.

Within the Scheduled Castes, followers of Babu Jagjivan Ram are categorised as 'right', and those who follow BR Ambedkar are in the 'left' category.

The decision was taken on the basis of a report by the AJ Sadashiva Commission. The panel was formed in 2004 by the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government led by Dharam Singh. The Banjara community maintains that the survey was conducted hastily. 

Leaders of the Banjara community have alleged that they would lose out due to the state government's decision on reservation and demanded that the state government immediately withdraw the recommendation to the centre.

Today's protest was organised by the Banjara community in Shikaripura. They gathered outside the residence of Mt Yediyurappa, also the BJP's parliamentary board member, to demand that the new reservation proposal not be implemented. 

The Banjara community is a scheduled caste subgroup in the state. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes together account for 24 per cent of Karnataka's population.

Muslim leaders too have slammed the BJP government after the recommendation sought to remove Muslims from the 2B category of Other Backward Classes, which gave them four per cent reservation.

The state cabinet has decided to split the 4 per cent between Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats.

The move was seen as the BJP government's attempt to woo voters from the two influential communities ahead of the crucial May election, which is being considered a tough fight for the BJP reeling under corruption allegations and a leadership vacuum.

Under the new reservation proposal, the Muslims would be competing with others from the general category for the 10 per cent reservation meant for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

Muslim leaders have termed it "grave injustice" and a political move by the ruling BJP.

"Today, Muslims are below the SC and ST in terms of education. You can make out from the atrocities being perpetrated against the Muslims," Maulavi Maqsood Imran of Jamia Masjid and a member of the Ulema Council told news agency PTI at a recent gathering of leaders from the community.

"We want to appeal to the Vokkaliga and Lingayat seers whether they would like to take those rights which were snatched from others and given to them. We want them to build pressure on the government to get their due share of reservation," he said.

The proposed changes in the reservation formula have been opposed by Dalit bodies too. The Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Ambedkar Vada) has said the new policy would not stand judicial scrutiny. The state government's decision has already been challenged in Karnataka High Court.