Ambedkar's followers asked to list as Buddhists

DH News Service

The Buddhism Census Movement (BCM) has urged the followers of Buddha and Dr B R Ambedkar to list their religion as Buddhists in the Census-2001 and also to give their sub-castes.

Speaking to the press here today, BCM District President Shivram Mogha and Working President Vittal Dodamani stated that Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in 1956 at Nagpur along with nearly five lakh followers. And even now those who embrased Buddhism had not been enlisted as Buddhists, they said.

Mr Mogha stated that the Maharashtra government had already enlisted Neo-Buddhists in the Scheduled Castes list, but it had not been done so in Karnataka. ''When I discussed the issue with Home Minister Mallikarjun Kharge recently, he welcomed the BCM creating awareness among the followers of Buddha and Dr Ambedkar to get their religion enlisted as Buddhists during the census,'' he added.

He stated that the BCM, along with Dhammasena of Aurangabad, Bhante Dhammanand of Sannathi and Dhammputra of Pune had toured the districts of Bidar and Gulbarga and had appealed to all the followers of Buddha and Dr Ambedkar to enlist their religion as Buddhists.

But when questioned that the Madigas, who form the major caste in the SC list, had not aspired to their reasoning of being enlisted as Buddhists, Mr Mogha stated that the Madigas were the followers of Jagjeevan Ram and not Buddha or Dr Ambedkar. ''Jagjeevan Ram was born a Hindu, and died as one,'' he added.

Stating that their main aim was to get all the followers of Buddha and Dr Ambedkar under one ''umbrella,'' Mr Mogha said, ''any follower of these two great people was welcome in their fold.'' By enlisting the sub-castes, their exact numbers could be known, he said adding, when the reservations would go ultimately, then there would be no reason for enlisting the sub-castes as Dr Ambedkar was a firm believer in caste-less society.

AGITATION: Protesting against the alleged attrocities by the police against the farmers in the district, the Hyderabad-Karnataka Abhiruddi Yuva Kriya Samithi (HKAYKS) has decided to hold a one-day dharna in front of the deputy commissioner's office in Gulbarga on February 14.

HKAYKS President Raju Kulgeri charged here today that the State government was turning a blind eye towards the problems faced by the farmers, especially the tur (red gram) growers. He condemned the police lathi-charge on the farmers recently at Mudbol Cross in Chittapur taluk.

It is condemnable that the farmers who were fighting for their rights were paraded in handcuffs like criminals recently, he said. Crime was on the rise in the district and instead of controlling it, the police were involved only in catching traffic rule violators, he added.

Referred by: Sashi Kanth
Published on: February 14, 2001
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