Political Exclusion of Valmiki Community in Haryana: Dalit Leaders Demand Representation Ahead of 2024 Haryana Assembly Elections

The Valmiki community, a significant segment within the Deprived Scheduled Castes (DSC) in Haryana, has historically faced exclusion and underrepresentation despite substantial demographic presence within the Scheduled Castes (SC) category.
Haryana CM Nayab Singh Saini with the representatives of Valmiki community.
Haryana CM Nayab Singh Saini with the representatives of Valmiki community.Credit- X handle Nayab Saini

Haryana- In anticipation of the 2024 Haryana Assembly elections, leaders representing the Valmiki community have voiced pressing demands for political inclusion and equitable rights.

The Valmiki community, a significant segment within the Deprived Scheduled Castes (DSC) in Haryana, has historically faced exclusion and underrepresentation despite substantial demographic presence within the Scheduled Castes (SC) category.

The issue of political exclusion came sharply into focus as both major political alliances, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) led by the Indian National Congress (INC), opted to field candidates from the Chamar caste for reserved parliamentary seats in Haryana.

This decision has sparked criticism from Valmiki community leaders who argue that it perpetuates systemic marginalization.

Recently, a delegation comprising leaders from various social, religious, and political organizations representing the Valmiki community met with Haryana Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini in Chandigarh on July 2.

During the meeting, they presented a series of demands aimed at securing equal opportunities and representation for their community in the state's political and administrative spheres.

Key Demands Presented by the Valmiki Community Leaders:

  1. Equal Reservation in Employment: Advocating for reservation quotas in government jobs commensurate with the Valmiki community's population share within the DSC category. They referenced the BJP's 2014 manifesto commitment to Antyodaya principles as a precedent for equitable reservation policies.

  2. Cultural and Educational Institutions: Proposing the establishment of a Ramayana Research Centre, an educational institute, and a modern hostel dedicated to Lord Valmiki near Umri/Pipil in Kurukshetra District. They requested at least 5 acres of land for this purpose.

  3. Political Representation: Urging for fair representation in the upcoming assembly elections, they demanded that at least eight out of the 17 reserved seats be allocated to candidates from the Valmiki community. They also sought inclusion in key government bodies such as the Haryana Public Service Commission and the Haryana Staff Selection Commission.

  4. Social Welfare Measures: Seeking permanent employment status for temporary sanitation workers employed across various municipal bodies and advocating for the provision of Ex-Gratia benefits for sanitation workers, particularly those who work on parole.

Leaders emphasized the leadership potential within the Valmiki community and underscored their expectations from political parties to address long-standing grievances and ensure inclusive development.

Prominent figures present during the meeting included Bishamber Valmiki, Minister of State (Independent Charge); Krishan Bedi, former Minister of Haryana Government and political advisor to the former Chief Minister; Jagdish Nayak, MLA of Hodal; Ramniwas, MLA of Surjakhera; and Chaudhary Banta Ram Valmiki, former MLA and National President of All India Valmiki Mahasabha.

The demands put forth by the Valmiki community highlight a growing call for comprehensive socio-political reforms to uplift marginalized communities and provide them with equitable opportunities in Haryana's political landscape.

-The Author Dr. Krishan Kumar is a scholar based in Haryana specializing in Dalits and Marginalized Studies and founder of International Ambedkarites’ Network.

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