GUWAHATI, Jan 2 � Widespread anomalies in procurement and issuance of scheduled caste (SC) certificates continues to be a disturbing concern in the State, with undeserving candidates in their hordes depriving genuine candidates in matters of admission into educational institutions, in matters of scholarships and in tests for government jobs.
Information obtained through RTI applications has revealed that a practice common among candidates with surnames of Dhar, Saha, Shah, Prasad, Jaiswal, etc., is to show themselves as belonging to the indigenous Bania community, even though they do not come under that category as per laid-down norms.
This has been continuing despite occasional interventions by government authorities following complaints from aggrieved persons. In one instance, the Office of the Golaghat Deputy Commissioner had cancelled the SC certificate (Bania community) of one Rajesh Jaiswal, as he was not found to be belonging to the Bania community.
The Welfare of Plain Tribes and Other Backward Tribes (WPT&BC) Department had also in this connection made it clear that the Jaiswal community was not considered as belonging to the Bania community in Assam. It also asked the Golaghat Deputy Commissioner to conduct an inquiry against the officers responsible for issuing SC certificates without consulting the appropriate authorities.
However, many similar cases involving fraudulent securing of SC certificates are yet to be acted upon. A case in point relates to the present Public Prosecutor of Golaghat with a surname Jaiswal who also held a scholarship along with Rajesh Jaiswal (whose SC certificate was subsequently cancelled) while they were degree students of the Golaghat Commerce College.
RTI activists in Golaghat district have urged the Golaghat Deputy Commissioner to cancel the SC certificate of the Public Prosecutor on the ground that it was obtained through fraudulent means.
The Jaiswals belong to the Kalwar caste which is recognized as OBC in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, but in Assam they are regarded as general, caste and not considered Banias.
�The Banias are specified as a scheduled caste of Assam by the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order-1950. They came to be developed as an indigenous caste in the Brahmaputra Valley, having a bona-fide Assamese heredity and the traditional goldsmith occupation.� This was stated by the Welfare of Plain Tribes and Other Backward Tribes (WPT&BC) Department quoting various authorities in reply to an RTI application by Bijoy Kumar Das.
It has also been revealed that of the 70-odd SC (Bania caste) certificates issued by the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia since 2002, a number of the beneficiaries have surnames (such as Prasad, Sarkar, Sahani, Mahato, etc.,) that do not belong to any of the known indigenous Assamese communities.