New Delhi: The legislation ending reservation to Anglo-Indians in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies has triggered a major controversy with Ernakulam lawmaker Hibi Eden accusing the central government of banking on flawed census data to deprive the community of its constitutional rights.
The MP alleged that the Central Government banked on flawed data as part of its deliberate attempt to deprive the Anglo Indian community of their constitutional right to reservations.
Based on this data that central government concluded that there are just 296 Anglo-Indians in the country and decided that reservation need not be given to the community in state Assemblies and Lok Sabha.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had informed the Lok Sabha the other day that the number of Anglo-Indians in Kerala stood at just 124.
As per the 2011 census, which the central government banked to elicit the Anglo-Indian population, the number of Sunni Muslims in Kerala has been pegged at 18, Catholic Christians 1,217, Sikhs 3,814! These grave errors cropped in the data collected on various castes and minority communities on the basis of caste and communities.
Census officials have informed Hibi Eden, MP, that since it was not mandatory to disclose caste and religious status in Census, many may have withheld or declined to part with such details.
Meanwhile, Hibi Eden has decided to move privilege notice against the Union minister for presenting false data in Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, the Anglo-Indian community in the state is stunned at the Union minister’s statement. There are around 45 branches of All-Kerala Anglo Indian Association so the question is from where did the minister get the figure of 124? Marshal D Kunju, the general secretary of the Union of Anglo-Indian Associations, said according to the data collected through their branches the number of Anglo-Indians in the state is above 1.5 lakh.
Even though the Kerala government does not have exact figures on the number of Anglo-Indians, estimates suggest that the population of the community is somewhere between 75,000 and 1 lakh. There is no specific information on their numbers as in matters of reservation Anglo-Indians have been clubbed with Latin Catholics and in Census they come under the category of Christians.
The origin of the Anglo Indian community in Kerala dates back to the arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1498. The ancestors of three-fourth of Anglo Indians are Portuguese. The rest have French, British and Dutch ancestors. The highest Anglo-Indian concentration is in Ernakulum, Kollam and Kannur districts. There is also some presence in Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts.
However, due to inter-caste marriages and migration to other countries, the population of Anglo-Indians in the state is on the decline. The children born to inter-caste couples are not considered Anglo-Indians. Even though they are entitled to reservation, there is no quota for Anglo-Indians in admission to arts and science colleges and post-graduate courses.