Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi general secretary and MP D. Ravikumar has demanded that Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M.K. Stalin include the promise that it would bring the remaining 60 Scheduled Castes — except castes that are classified as Devendrakula Velalars and Arundhathiyars — under the Adi Dravidar identity in their election manifesto.
The demand comes in the wake of the Centre moving a Bill in Parliament to rename seven SC communities as Devendrakula Velalars. While the demand for recognition of identity was not new in the case of Devendrakula Velalars and dated back many decades, the pressure exerted by community leaders and political parties in the last few years was instrumental in achieving it. Mr. Ravikumar urged the DMK to bring two other demands as a part of its election manifesto.
“Provide reservation proportionate to the Adi Dravida population in the 2011 Census after bringing 60 castes under the same category. Increase SC reservation to 20% based on the 2011 Census and distribute the 2.5 lakh acre panchami lands identified by the committee to Dalits,” he said.
Mr. Ravikumar said VCK supports a secular identity for Dalits in Tamil Nadu but nevertheless supported the seven SC communities’ demand to rename themselves.
“Renaming is good. Everybody has the right to choose their name,” he said. “We are not for caste identity. We are followers of Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology of annhilation of castes,” he added.