With just a month to go before the critical assembly elections in Karnataka, Republic TV has accessed details of a bizarre caste census that has been initiated by the Siddaramaiah-run state government.
In the initial order dated January 2017 which has been accessed by Republic TV, the state had asked for caste information of Police officers to be furnished "in the prescribed format since this is required to be incorporated in the report for on Social and Educational Survey conducted by the Karnataka State Commission for backward classes to make a detailed comparison with the primary source of data collected from the survey. ", which it said was to be submitted to the government later that month.
The second letter, dated March 17, 2018, is a reminder for the data to be furnished and includes a table that details how the census data is to be recorded.
The table is titled "Caste wide inventory of Govt. Employees working in Police Dept. (As on 28.02.2018)" and its format asks for Police of Groups A and B to be divided based on Religion, Caste and Sub-caste.
The police caste census comes just weeks after the Congress-run state government accorded individual religion and minority status to Karnataka's Lingayat community. A Republic TV investigation had revealed that when the UPA government was in power at the centre, a similar demand had been refused.
Elections are due in Karnataka on May 12 with counting scheduled on May 15.
The Karnataka Assembly elections come at a critical time in Indian politics, a year to go before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and a year after perhaps the BJP's biggest electoral achievement -- the stellar win in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Given that the last major win for the Opposition was in the Bihar elections in 2015 and Karnataka is the last large state, apart from Punjab, to be held by the Congress, it presents the BJP with a chance to go further than anybody ever has in making a 'Congress mukt Bharat', as has been party president Amit Shah's goal. Follow the Karnataka Elections in-depth here.
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