Wed, Jun 06, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Indian mobs demand to be branded as backward

CLASS WARA caste of farmers and shepherds went on a rampage throughout northern India in support of their demand to be reclassified as the lowest of the low


There have been repeated protests in the past year over a government plan to reserve more than a quarter of the spots at India's top professional schools for the 3,743 castes and sub-castes, Gujjars among them, classified in the second-to-lowest category, the "Other Backward Classes."

India's Supreme Court temporarily suspended the plan in a March ruling that presaged the Gujjar protests.

"Nowhere in the world do castes queue up to be branded as backward," it said. "Nowhere in the world is there a competition to become backward."

Less controversial have been the decades-old quotas for those on the lowest rung of the caste system, the so-called Scheduled Castes and Tribes. It include the dalits, once called "untouchables." It's this group the Gujjars want to join.

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