Cabinet to look into demands of Valmiki community, after protests

After the members of the Valmiki community staged a protest march in Bengaluru demanding 7.5 per cent reservation, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has announced the government will look into the community’s demands. The issue will be taken up in the next cabinet meeting.

Members of the Valmiki community, which is classified as a Scheduled Tribe, are seeking 7.5 per cent reservation in place of the existing 3 per cent.

Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara announced Tuesday that a panel will be constituted to look into the community’s demands. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also stated that the state government is planning to increase reservation for ST’s in the state. The CM held a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara and ministers Satish Jarkiholi and Priyank Kharge on the issue on Tuesday.

In a statement, the CM’s office said, “Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today discussed the reservation of Scheduled Tribes. The government is seriously concerned about the reservation of Scheduled Tribes. Social Welfare Minister Priyanka Kharge will discuss the reservation with them.”

The meeting was called a day after a group of hundreds of protesters walked from Rajanahalli in Davanagere district to Bengaluru, a distance of 280 km, demanding that the reservation for the community should be raised. Community members argued that the numerically strong Valmiki community would continue to protest until their demands are met.

“We are happy that our protest evoked a response but we are waiting to see if our demands will be met, ” said Narasimha Murthy, a member of the community from Magadi.

The protests were supported by BJP leader B Sriramulu, considered one of the biggest leaders belonging to the community. JD(S) leader Shashi Kumar was also present at the protest site. The protest on Wednesday brought traffic in Bengaluru’s central area to a standstill and even forced Power Minister DK Shivakumar to travel by metro.

Protesters were lined up and protesting on the streets, in front of the multi-storeyed buildings, KR Circle and Freedpark, where vehicles lined up for miles on major roads.
The protest was led by Prasananandapuri Swamiji at Freedom Park, while hundreds of protesters lined up on the Seshadri road, prompting CM Kumaraswamy, Coordinating Committee Chairman Siddaramaiah and Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharghe to come to the scene. These include Kempegowda Road, Gandhinagar, Majestic, Anandrao Circle, Seshadri Road, KR. For hours, vehicles roamed into the heart of the capital, including the circle, Ambedkar Street, Nirupatunga Road, Corporation Circle.
On behalf of the coalition government, Minister E. Tukaram and Sathisha Zarakihili challenged the situation as the influential leader of the society, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Sriramulu and MLA Raju Gowda were sitting in protest. At last, DCM Dr.G. Parameshwara led by Minister Danday arrived at the Cabinet meeting and temporarily chose a kitchen of protest.
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