Demands raised for white paper from Kerala govt on community representation in public resources

A Delhi-based Civil Society Forum for Equity, Justice and Peace has initiated an online campaign to urge the left government in Kerala to release a white paper on the distribution of public resources among different communities to allay misconceptions which are being spread concerning a welfare scheme for the Muslim minority in the state.

“We hope you will focus on the comprehensive implementation of empowerment programmes and protection of rights under your Minority Welfare Department. But in the last few days, there have been some unfortunate narratives about the department and its minority welfare schemes. The most important of these is the lie that a particular community is taking away rights and resources beyond what it deserves,” read the petition with 11 point demands to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Thousands of people from various political, social, cultural and voluntary organisations including Muslim Youth League Kerala unit president Syed Munavvarali Shihab Thangal and filmmaker Muhsin Parari have participated in the online signature drive.

The petition stated that facts are the answer to such propaganda against the government and the system and that the Pinarayi Vijayan led government must immediately release a comprehensive white paper on the allocation of public resources among various communities in the state.

“Discussions on development and welfare should be based on the concepts of social justice. However, distorted and unfavourable arguments and narratives are being spread by some vested interests, which, we assume, are the reasons behind such allegations against the Department of Minority Welfare. One may also doubt whether these are part of the efforts of any section to weaken the social atmosphere and religious harmony in Kerala,” the petition says.

The petition also suggests two steps for resisting the hatred campaigns. The first step is to comprehensively assess the social context and the current status of progress achieved by each community in Kerala and their share of public resources. The second step is the publication of a white paper by the government which statistically presents the distribution of various relief schemes by the government aimed to address social backwardness of different communities and ensure justice for all, a document that provides the most updated and comprehensive data regarding the distribution of public resources among all communities in Kerala till date.

The Civil Society Forum for Equity and Justice and Peace is a collective of academics, activists, civil servants, independent researchers, journalists, students and teachers focusing on enhancing peace and harmony by advocating equity and justice. Abdullah Abdul Hameed, a faculty at University of Delhi is its coordinator and a cultural activist Syed Ashraf Thangal is its mentor and chairman.

The White Paper should also clarify if any community has a particular deficit or surplus in resource allocation by the government, petition urged.

“It is essential to categorise public resources individually so that the information is accurate. It would be appropriate to disclose information detailing the deficit and surplus in terms of community representation and resource allocation for each community with percentage statistics as per the list provided below,” read the petition.

The white paper should provide data of posts in bureaucracy, police, judiciary, teaching and non-teaching posts in educational institutions and corporations and various boards under the state government, according to the petition.

Percentage of reservation provided to each community in recruitment to various posts in government jobs in proportion to population and the data of the community-wise share of currently admitted seats from the total number of seats in educational institutions should be included in the white paper, the petition urges.

The Civil Society Forum also wrote to Kerala CM that the percentage of reservation provided to each community in admission to educational institutions, the share received by each community in the allotment of government land and the community share in the allotment of aided educational institutions should be included in the white paper.