In a move that gathers significance in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, the Union government on Saturday introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to group seven Scheduled Caste groups in the state under a common nomenclature as Devendrakula Vellalars.
Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar introduced the Bill to recognise Devendrakulathan, Kudumban, Pannadi, Kaalaadi, Kadayan, Pallan and Patharian, predominantly agrarian castes, collectively as Devendrakula Vellalars. Despite the common nomenclature, the seven caste groups will continue to be accorded the same reservation in education and jobs as SCs.
There has been a demand for grouping the castes under a common nomenclature and even de-listing them from the SC list. In 2015, then BJP chief Amit Shah had met SC groups in Madurai during a visit to the state, and endorsed the demand for a common nomenclature.
Subsequently, a delegation had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had assured them that the demand will be considered positively.
In 2019, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had constituted a committee to look into the issue.