Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan was the chief guest at a function held in Kochi on December 17 to mark the culmination of the year-long platinum jubilee celebrations of the Union of Anglo-Indian Associations.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Satheesan demanded the restoration of the rightful due of the community in Parliament and in the Assembly. State president-in-chief of the union Marshel D’Cunha presided over the event where MP Hibi Eden delivered the keynote address.
In 2019, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal that ended the constitutional provisions that guaranteed the reservations of two seats for the Anglo-Indian community. Anglo-Indians lost parliamentary reservations in both the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies. At the time, the Union Government’s reasoning was based on the view that the community is doing well and hence, does not need these political reservations.
A government-commissioned Ministry of Minority Affairs report (2013) documents poor economic and social conditions for many people in the community. Among the major challenges and problems faced by people of the community, the report observed, were lack of employment, educational backwardness and lack of proper housing facilities, particularly in the metro centres. The document also explicitly commended the assistance Anglo-Indians receive from their nominated MPs and MLAs, stating that “representatives of the Anglo-Indian community in the State Assemblies and local leaders of the community are working hard for the welfare and progress of the community”.
Since then, Anglo-Indian leaders have protested the decision to remove the nominations, and have made several demands to restore the nominations and grant the Anglo-Indian community minority status. In December 2021, The Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations’ office bearers met Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and gave him a memorandum on the plight of the Anglo-Indian community, seeking his intervention.
In 2019, the executive committee of the Union of Anglo Indian Associations, Kerala had condemned the move of the Narendra Modi Government to discontinue the nominated representation of the Anglo-Indian community to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies. The provision was not aimed at economic development but for ensuring due representation to the community, they said.