NGO advert seeks sweepers from ‘upper castes’, sparks controversy

Ahmedabad, June 23 (IANS) An Ahmedabad-based NGO, Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC), sparked off a controversy by putting out an advertisement seeking “upper caste” candidates for a vacancy of cleaner-cum-sanitation worker.

The recruitment advertisement for sweepers issued in April, said that preference will be given to applicants belonging to Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaniya, Patel, Jain, Saiyad, Pathan, Syrian Christian and Parsi communities.

The trouble began when the advertisement went viral on social media and some youths reached the premises of the NGO to protest.

Defending its move, the NGO run by St Xavier’s Non-Formal Education Society, said, “Our intent was never to hurt sentiments of any community. We were merely upholding the democratic values where everyone is talking of an egalitarian society. So why to shy away from work like cleaning toilets,” Jimmy Dabhi, HDRC secretary, told mediapersons on Thursday.

“The aim was inspired by the ongoing Swachh Bharat Abhiyan which also talks of inclusiveness and of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. We wanted to provide an opportunity to people of all communities and not restrict the job to a particular community or class of the society,” Dabhi claimed.

Angry over this, social groups like Rajput Shaurya Foundation (RSF) and Yuva Shakti Sangathan (YSS) had on Wednesday broken window panes of the NGO’s office and damaged plantations there.

“We want those responsible for releasing such denigrating advertisement should be sacked. If this is not done forthwith, it would be difficult for us to agitate peacefully through Gandhian way,” Ronaksinh Gohel, president of Yuva Shakti Sangathan, said. A police complaint was also filed against HDRC.

Another minority outfit has slapped a legal notice asking the NGO to tender an unconditional apology within seven days or face consequences.

“It is a deliberate act to denigrate the status of Saiyed, considered the direct descendants of the Prophet. They have hurt religious sentiment and incited communal hatred,” Usman Qureishi, Sunni Awami Forum, is learnt to have stated in the legal notice.



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