Amid a walkout by the Bharatiya Janata Party over charges of minority appeasement, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution urging the Centre to amend the Constitution to extend Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians.
An amendment was brought in the resolution, on the suggestion of MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, to urge the Centre to accord SC status to Dalit Muslims also.
Barring the BJP and the Lok Satta Party, all parties were unanimous in seeking SC status for Dalit Christians. Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy earlier moved the resolution requesting the Centre to bring in an amendment to the Constitution to extend SC status to Dalit Christians.
Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu and Praja Rajyam party president K. Chiranjeevi backed the resolution. So did Telangana Rashtra Samiti floor leader E. Rajender, CPI (M) member Julakanti Ranga Reddy and CPI member Sambasiva Rao.
But BJP leader G. Kishan Reddy opposed the resolution stating that it would open the flood gates for conversions that were already taking place in the country in the garb of missionary work in rural and tribal areas.
LSP member N. Jayaprakash Narayan demanded that instead of bringing the Dalit Christians in the SC category, the reservations enjoyed by them under BC ‘C’ category should be enhanced without disturbing the existing SC quota. He warned that such a move would open the ‘Pandora’s Box’ as the State was already struggling to decide the fate of SC categorisation.