Wearing Black Ribbons To Protest SC/ST Demotion

Ribbons are not only tied on trees, fences and posts; they are sometimes worn on clothing as a show of support or as a sign of protest. While the primary objective of ribbons is for beauty, it is now being used as a symbol for various causes.

In Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, India, SC/ST employees are asked to wear black ribbons for the next few days as a sign of protest. Employees and officials that belong to the SC/ST category are facing the threats of demotion following UP government’s order with a Supreme Court ruling. Employees have found a unique way of protesting by refusing to vacate their rooms if demanded by the department.

The Arakshan Bacaho Sangharsh Samiti, and association of SC/ST employees estimates that there are at least 2 lakh officers and employees who will be reverted from their existing positions in case the government order will be applied by the irrigation department. On March 30, the irrigation department has issued an order that scrapes quota in promotion as per the Supreme Court ruling that was passed in 2012. The order meant that all SC/ST employees that were elevated after Mayawati government in 2007 introduced quota in promotions will be demoted.

According to samiti convener KB Ram, the government order will not have a financial effect on the officers so that there is no reason why they should vacate the rooms they occupy as senior officers. These officials have been given better and more convenient rooms during Mayawati’s government when the quota for promotions was implemented.

Ram said that the government failed to carry out a group-wide survey before it implemented the harsh decision that will bring down the seniority of dalit officers in one stroke. Aside from wearing black ribbons, officers of the categories affected are being geared up for mass agitation when necessary. Ram did not rule out the possibility of stopping crucial official work. This can be a cause of worry for the government given the number of SC/ST employees who are presently enjoying a high position due to the consequential seniority.