Sutar community demands general category status
Even as progressive communities across the country including Maharashtra have been demanding reservations, Maharashtra’s Sutar community, also known as the Vishwakarma class, had decided to voluntarily give up its reservation status and be included in the open category.
The demand was put forward on behalf of the community by the Pune-based organization Vishwakarma Pratishtan whose founder members Vishnu Garud and Sanjay Bhalerao stated that in view of the progress made by the community, its members are of the opinion that they don’t need reservations and must be included among members of the general category.
As per reports, Vishnu Garud has been quoted as saying “the Sutar community religiously follows all rites and rituals of Hindu Dharma including pujas and vrats among other customs. Community members adorn the janeu, perform the munj ceremony, study the Dharma Granthas, and perform nityakarmas”.
He further added that there are several similarities between the Sutar community and the Brahmin class. He also said that views of the community are progressive and hence members of the community want to voluntarily give up their reserved status and be included among open category members.
Garud and Bhalerao have submitted a petition to District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh asking for conducting a census and adding the sutar community in the open category thereafter. They also informed that they would be filing a petition in the court in this regard in the coming days.
Garud pointed out that over the last 70 years, reservation has brought economic, educational, and social progress in the Sutar community. He highlighted that today every community is demanding reservations but in doing so they are forgetting their duties towards the country and their social responsibility.
Garud said “several organizations of the Sutar community are functioning throughout the state and the country. However, the community never indulges in ‘Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar’ worship or propagates their ideas. In other words, the community has progressed to such an extent that we don’t need to take the support of these great men to further our cause”.
Other demands of the Sutar community
In the petition submitted to the District Collector, the organization has put forward several demands on behalf of the community. Non-collateral loans up to rupees two lakhs, construction of Taluka-level Vishwakarma Udyog Bhavan, loans of up to rupees five lakhs to members of the Sutar community in rural areas for constructing houses, grants for community weddings, and granting Vishwabrahman status for the Sutar community are some of the several demands.
The unique demands of this organization has elicited mixed reactions with some welcoming it and others raising questions pointing out that the poor members of the community may suffer if reservations are removed.
However, it is quite rare that a community would voluntarily give up its reservation status. A similar demand had been made by Devendra Kula Vellalars who ran a campaign earlier this year to get their community out of the list of Scheduled Castes.