The Congress party today slammed the ‘stereotype’ advisory issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to media houses asking them to refrain from using the word ‘Dalit’ and use only the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ in their reports. Party’s Dalit MP PL Punia said that it is already established that the terminology ‘Scheduled Caste’ is the right word and it has been notified in the Presidential orders under Article 341 of the Constitution.
“It (advisory) is as per the High Court’s order. There was no need for a ‘stereotype’ advisory. However, Dalit is a more representative word but according to the Constitution, the term is ‘anusoochit jaati’ (scheduled caste),” he told FinancialExpress.com.
The BJP too echoed a similar sentiment on the matter. BJP’s Dalit MP Udit Raj who also is the chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations said that the word Dalit means scheduled caste and that the terminology is widely accepted. Raj said that an advisory is fine but it should not be made mandatory for media houses and others to stop using the word ‘Dalit’ in their reports.
“Dalit means scheduled class. The term ‘Dalit’ is widely used and accepted. An advisory is fine but it should not be made compulsory,” he said.
On Monday, the I&B Ministry had issued an advisory urging private television channels to refrain from using nomenclature ‘Dalit’ for people belonging to Scheduled Castes. The Ministry’s advisory referred to a June order by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court which had asked the ministry to consider issuing a direction to the media houses to stop using the word ‘Dalit’ in their reports.
The Ministry said that the “Constitutional term Scheduled Caste and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used for all official transactions, matters, dealings, certificates, etc. for denoting the persons belonging to Scheduled Castes”.