BHOPAL : SAPAAKS Samaj, a political unit of Samanya Anya Pichchda Varg Alpsankhyak Kalyan Sangathan (SAPAAKS), has launched a battle against amendment to the SC/ST Atrocities Act. Patron of SAPAAKS Samaj Hiralal Trivedi who has been an IAS officer and held important posts like information commissioner in his service tenure, maintains that they have nothing to lose. He believes that it is necessary to change the system for betterment of the coming generation.
In a conversation with Free Press, Trivedi spoke on several issues. Excerpts:
FP: What is your strategy after the bandh called by the people of upper caste?
Trivedi: Our organisation will contest assembly polls on all 230 seats. The candidates for 80 seats have been finalised. We have filed a petition in the Supreme Court. Our next strategy is to raise our voice at every forum – from roads to Parliament.
FP: Your organisation came into existence as opposition to reservation in promotion. How did it enter politics?
Trivedi: It is true that SAPAAKS was fighting for the government not accepting the decision of the high court on reservation in promotion. After the HC verdict, the government spent Rs 4 crore in support of AJAKS simply for not extending justice to people of general category and other backward classes.
FP: What is your stand on the SC/ST Atrocities Act?
Trivedi: How can the government consider 78% of the people of the country as terrorist? All sections in the society live together. Sometimes minor disputes happen. Then a law is made not permitting anticipatory bail to a particular section of people. We are not against SC/ST Atrocities Act, but it should be implemented Act was in 1989. The amendments made in the Act in 2016 and recently must be removed.
FP: You were demanding end of reservation.
Trivedi: We are not at all against reservation. This is true that the President, Members of Parliament (MPs), and the children of bureaucrats need no reservation. Reservation should not be given to capable people. Its benefit should be given to a person only once. Moreover, only 1% of people of SC/ST category are only getting the benefits.
FP: Are you favouring reservation to the poor in upper caste?
Trivedi: Not at all. We believe that people of SC/ST categories, who need it, should get the benefit of reservation. The government should pay attention to giving other facilities to the poor of general category.
FP: Will you form an alliance with any political party?
Trivedi: The BJP and the Congress both have the same policy on the Atrocities Act, reservation and reservation in promotion. It is irrelevant to have any expectations from them. We are in talks with some like-minded people to contest elections with them.
FP: There are representatives of general category and OBCs in both the parties. Why don’t you talk to them?
Trivedi: This is a paradox in politics. Politicians and officers personally say that we are moving in the right direction. They fear speaking in the open but it would not work now. Had the MPs of the BJP and the Congress shown courage, such Act would never have been implemented.
FP: How will you arrange money for elections?
Trivedi: At present, we are spending from our own resources. The candidates finalised by us are also ready to contest elections on their own. SAPAAKS Samaj has 40,000 members. Executive bodies have been constituted in 37 districts. We have not yet required big fund.
FP: Why did you not do anything when you were an IAS officer?
Trivedi: I was not comfortable with reservation during my service period. I could not raise my voice because I was bound by the government system. This is the reason why I am working in this direction. It is hurting me for a long time that some people of a particular community are being favoured by the government.
FP: You are fighting against the government and a section of the society. Are you not under pressure?
Trivedi: I did not get pressure from the government. It is also true that pressure will not make any difference. We have nothing to fear. We are clear in our speech that the governments should give equal treatment to all.