Caste associations protest against assigning Devendrakula Velalar title

Several caste associations representing the interest of various communities such as Pillais, Mudaliyars and Chettiars on Sunday held a hunger protest near Valluvar Kottam, Chennai, against the proposal by the Centre and State government to categorise seven Scheduled Caste (SC) communities as ‘Devendrakula Velalars’.

The Union Cabinet had recently approved the categorisation of seven communities into Devendrakula Velalar and a bill to give effect to the same has been introduced in Lok Sabha. The Centre has also clarified that these seven communities will continue to remain in the SC List.

Speaking at the sidelines of the protest, ARA Annadurai, president, All India Velalar, Vellalar Kootamaippu cum Name Protection Committee argued that the Velalar or Vellalar appendage has been used to collectively represent the likes of Pillai, Mudaliyar and Chettiar communities, which have been in existence for long.

“It is unfair to include other communities now. The Centre and state government has to withdraw this decision. And we won’t stop unless the decision and the Bill are withdrawn,” he said.

Mr. Annadurai alleged that it is an attempt to destroy their identity and the AIADMK, DMK and the BJP had betrayed them.

“Our population is around 1.75 crore in Tamil Nadu. We are also thinking of fielding our own independent candidates in the upcoming assembly elections by boycotting the major parties,” he added.

Mr. Annadurai also dismissed arguments that the decision to include seven SC communities was made after a study and recommendation by the Committee appointed to look into the issue.

Film producer Ishari K. Ganesh, who also runs numerous educational institutions, also participated in the protest.

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