New Delhi: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who is currently out on bail in the case of allegedly inciting people during an anti-CAA agitation, has called for a Bharat Bandh on Sunday (Feb 23), to protest against the Supreme Court’s ruling on the reservation in appointments and promotions in public posts. He has asked the Narendra Modi-led government to bring an ordinance to nullify the apex court ruling. Also Read - Bhim Army Chief Azad Denied Permission to Hold Rally Against CAA-NRC-NPR in Mumbai
Apart from several student outfits, opposition parties in Bihar, led by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), have extended their support to the bandh. Issuing a statement on Friday, RJD said it supports the bandh’s purpose which is to protect reservation and the Constitution. Besides, Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party, Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awami Morcha have also lent their support to the bandh. Also Read - 'Hiding From Media After Shock They Got,' Says Bhim Army Chief on BJP's Loss in Delhi Polls
The Supreme Court in its order on February 9 had ruled that states are not bound to provide reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Class in appointments and promotions. The apex court made the observations while hearing a group of petitions related to reservations to SCs and STs in promotions in the posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in PWD, Uttarakhand. Also Read - 'Dictatorship at Its Peak': Bhim Army Chief Expelled From Hyderabad Over CAA Protest, 'Sent' Back to Delhi
Following the ruling, a large group of Bhim Army members, led by its chief Chandrashekhar Azad, had held a protest march in the national capital from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar.
“Now the time has come when the SC/ST/OBC [Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Other Backward Classes] and other minority people need to come together for their rights. The Bharatiya Janata Party is against the minorities in the country. The nation will run with Ambedkar’s Constitution and this movement will not stop here”, Azad had vowed.
Leaders across the party lines had criticised the Supreme Court ruling reservation in jobs for the SCs and STs. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had alleged that it was ‘in the DNA of the BJP and the RSS’ to try and erase the quota system.
Opposition leader Sharad Yadav had blamed the BJP for the top court’s decision and had claimed that ‘it is the ruling party’s ‘mindset’ to snatch the rights of under-privileged classes of the society’. Reservation policy is a decided case and there is no need for any discussion on it, he had said, adding that the RSS and the BJP always ‘rake up this issue to review reservation’ at different forums.
Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan had also asked the government to bring an ordinance and ‘rectify’ the Supreme Court”s decision. “The review petition is there, but the matter will again go to court, it has to be looked at whether it will be successful or not. So, in my opinion the easiest way is to issue an ordinance and make an amendment in the Constitution,” Paswan told PTI in an interview.
Paswan’s son and LJP chief Chirag Paswan had also raised the matter in Lok Sabha and demanded that all such matters related with SC/ST be put in the Ninth Schedule.