Bengaluru: Former Chairman of the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission, H Kantharaju, came forward on Thursday amid the caste census row raging in the state and clarified that his caste census report is genuine and scientific. He accused the BJP of making it a political issue.
Speaking to the media in Bengaluru, Kantaraju maintained that it was not tenable to dub the report unscientific without going through it.
“The door-to-door survey was carried out for 40 days. There are many volumes of the report. The Member Secretary has not given a signature for just one of the volumes. The BJP is raking up the issue for political reasons,” he stated.
The questionnaire contained 55 questions for everyone, including caste, gender, religion, and property. After the 40-day survey, the report was compiled with statistics. The report is now the property of the government, and it can make a decision once it goes through the report, he explained.
Kantaraju noted that the Vokkaligas and Lingayats might oppose it, but first, let them study the report, and if it is incorrect, then they can oppose it.
“I will agree if they study and point out shortcomings. The Commission had worked hard, and it is incorrect to say that there is no signature of the Member Secretary,” he maintained.
“I don’t know about the missing original blueprint. I had submitted the report in 2019. When I submitted it, the original blueprint was intact. I don’t know about the document going missing now. It is improper for me to comment when I am not in the Commission. This is not a caste census report; it is a Social and Academic Survey report,” Kantaraju stated.
When asked about ministers in the Congress Government signing the memorandum to reject the report, Kantaraju stated that he had submitted the report, and others were free to give opinions.
Let the report be submitted to the government, and then statements can be made. He added that the BJP is politicising the issue.
When asked whether former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy did not receive the report, he explained that an appointment was sought, and Kumaraswamy did not give time.
BJP MLA and former minister V Sunil Kumar on Thursday said that if Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is genuinely committed to ensuring social justice, he should hand over the caste census report to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a probe.
BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal had shared the letter written by the Chairman of the Backward Classes Commission to the Principal Secretary of the Department of Backward Classes Welfare Department on his social media on Wednesday.
“The caste census report submitted to the Chief Minister does not have the original copy, showcasing the lack of responsibility or a conspiracy. The validity of this document which does not have the signature of the Member Secretary is questionable,” Yatnal said.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K Shivakumar on Wednesday said that the demand of various communities for a scientific approach to the caste census must be considered.
The Chairman of Backward Classes Commission K. Jayaprakash Hegde has clarified on Wednesday that the data of the caste census was safe while the work sheets were missing.
“The caste census is genuine and the report will be submitted,” he said. Hegde’s clarification came following the development of a letter stating that the original copy of the caste census report is missing, which has gone viral on social media triggering controversy.
“The data is hundred percent safe. Only the worksheets of the caste census prepared by the Kantaraj Commission are missing,” Hegde told media persons.
He said that there shall be no suspicion whatsoever about the signatures of the former Chairman of the Commission, members and member secretary in the hard copy of the report.