New Delhi: Several thousand government jobs, under the reserved quota, were usurped in Uttar Pradesh, in connivance with local administration officials including the District Magistrates.
In several instances, which have come to light now, candidates of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) converted themselves into Scheduled Tribes to exploit the quota under ST category.
The racket flourished in UP during the rule of Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which dominated politics in India's largest state in the last two decades.
Concerned with the misuse of reservation quota, UP Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) Commission chief, Brij Lal, has finally instructed the District Magistrates to verify ST certificates of three major Scheduled Tribes - Kharwar, Gond and Chero.
Speaking to IANS, Brij Lal said that he received several complaints wherein members of the OBCs falsely procured certificates to declare themselves as SC or ST candidates.
"Obviously the objective was to avail the quota in different sectors and regions. At this moment, I can't rule out the involvement of DMs who are empowered to issue SC/ST certificates. I cannot predict the exact numbers of such cases, but it seems to run into thousands, considering the long period of time. On Monday, I held a meeting with top government officials in Gorakhpur and have instructed them to probe the racket," said the former IPS officer who was also UP's former Director General of Police (DGP).
On the role of political executive in the racket, Brij Lal said that in 2004, the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav passed a government order proposing shifting of several OBCs into the SC/ST category. The order, however, had no legal sanctity as it required the approval of the Central government and the Parliament to amend any such provision related to reservation. However, once Mulayam Singh Yadav's order was passed, the racket of caste conversions under different reserved categories surfaced in different parts of the state.
Initial enquiry revealed that fake candidates of Gond, Kharwar and Chero tribes procured ST certificates from administration of Ballia, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar and Gorakhpur districts.
However, the above-mentioned three tribes are not found in these districts.
"Gond and Kharwar tribes are pocketed in areas like Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli. In revenue records, such tribes are not found in northeastern region of UP, like Gorakhpur or Ballia. It has come to our notice that OBCs, primarily Kahar, Kumhar and Bhurji castes, tried to convert themselves into Gond or other tribes to usurp the rights of the tribal," said a UP government official.
Meanwhile, the UP SC & ST Commission has instructed the DMs to verify the parental and maternal lineage of suspected candidates who secured jobs under ST category. It has also asked the DMs to verify the revenue and property records of such candidate to ascertain their place of origin.
Sources said that role of IAS officers, who held the post of District Magistrates in these districts will also be probed.
IANS tried to reach Mulayam Singh Yadav's office for his version on the story but could not seek a reply. However a senior office-bearer at the SP headquarters in Lucknow said that Mulayam Singh Yadav did not pursued the said order once he could not get Central's approval. "It's not correct to say that Netaji (Mulayam Singh) had any role in this issue," the office-bearer added.