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‘More than a court ruling, it is necessary to change the mentality’ | India News

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Former Union Minister of State Vijay Sampla, who was denied a ticket to the 2019 Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur in Punjab by BJP, will take office today as chairman of the National Registered Caste Commission (NCSC). He shared with TOI his priorities in the new position and also whether he thinks a scheduled caste community member can hope to become the Prime Minister of Punjab.
What would be your priorities as president of the NCSC?
He would do everything possible to protect the constitutional rights, welfare and dignity of people belonging to the included castes. It would be my priority to ensure justice to members of programmed castes who face social or administrative injustice or discrimination in any way.
India has 16.63% caste population registered according to the 2011 census. Why should it be necessary Supreme CourtIntervention to fill the NCSC position that was vacant since May last year?
The appointment process is long, since it is a constitutional position to which the president makes the appointment. I don’t know what the exact reason for the delay could have been, but I think it was due to the closure of Covid-19, as the first priority of the Union government was saving lives.
There are still separate gurdwaras and cremation grounds for scheduled castes in their own home state, Punjab. What can be done to change this situation?
More than any (judicial) ruling, it is necessary to change the mentality of the people. Although there are now common cremation sites in cities, still many villages across the country have separate cremation sites for scheduled castes. I would say that it is necessary to start a campaign with various religious institutions to change the mentality. I can only attract people because whether it’s Guru Ravidass Gurdwara or any other Gurdwara, they all have the same Guru Granth Sahib.
Manual garbage collection was prohibited under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Garbage Collectors and its Rehabilitation Act of 2013. However, according to a national survey, there were still 62,904 manual garbage collectors nationwide as of January 31, 2020, and 110 deaths were reported in 2019 while cleaning sewer tanks.
The Safai Karamcharis National Commission has been established to look after the welfare of the Safai Karamcharis. I served as the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, I can say that our government has made clear the need to strictly implement the laws. In case of any emergency, the person will only enter the sewer tank after using all protective equipment, including the oxygen cylinder. But making laws is not going to solve the problem and we, as a society, must see it through the lens of love for humanity. Many times, the poor, sadly, take these risks for money. The government has also provided Rs 10 lakh compensation in case of any unfortunate accidents.
While you were serving as the Union Minister of State in the previous NDA government when the BJP denied you the ticket for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, you said you were ‘Gau Hatya’ (slaughter of cows). What is your position today?
The president of the commission must refrain from making political statements. Second, the country we live in has the concept of rebirth. After that incident, he had been working for the party without going anywhere and everyone should draw the conclusion from that.
Do you think you have been elected to the highest NCSC position based on the 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly polls as Punjab has the highest percentage (31.94%) of scheduled caste population in the country and is the BJP going to participate in the elections independently this time? ?
Only the Prime Minister and the President can say why they have chosen me. I cannot answer this. Once a person is appointed to this constitutional position, he or she does not care about politics or the vote bank and only focuses on protecting the rights of programmed caste members.
The BJP had been considering projecting a member of the SC as the face of CM for the 2022 Punjab assembly elections. How committed is your party to having a CM Dalit since he also served as president of the Punjab BJP previously? ?
Since I was appointed president of the NCSC, I should not see this problem politically. But when Punjab has such a large population of programmed castes and if the people vote for members of the programmed caste to power through a democratic process, they should definitely have a chance to lead.
The BJP had alleged a multi-crore post-metric scholarship scam in Punjab. Although the Punjab government has given its minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot a good grade, why was the Punjab BJP unable to address the issue through the BJP-led central government as it is a centrally funded scheme?
After taking over as president on February 24, I would definitely check if there were any complaints on this issue and what action was taken.

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