Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad clarified that Dalits who convert to Abrahamic religions cannot claim eligibility for contesting assembly or parliamentary elections from constituencies that are reserved for Scheduled Castes and other reservation benefits.
Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, the minister said people converting to Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh religions can claim these benefits.
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“Para 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order outlines that ...no person who professes a religion different from Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste," Prasad was quoted as saying in the upper house.
The minister was replying to a question by BJP MP G.V.L. Narasimha Rao.
When Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asked Prasad to clarify if people belonging to Christianity and Islam will be able to avail benefits under reservations, the Union minister said only Dalits belonging to Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh religions are eligible for such benefits, say media reports.