February 5, 2019 can be termed as a lucky day for a 35 year old lawyer from Vellore, Tamil Nadu who obtained a “no caste, no religion” certificate. Sneha Parthibaraja started the fight to define her as an Indian in 2010. Years passed by and the officials turned down her application “for some reasons”, she said in a statement.
The last application submitted by her was in May 2017, before which all her attempts remained futile.
Few officials said “There was no precedent in the country” to her whenever she would file her application.
The Inhuman Behavior With The Dalits
On 5th February 2019 Sneha’s victory overcame the protest and the violence against the lower caste Indians.
A spate of violence were witnessed- in the recent floggings, in Una and Gujarat, of Dalit, some people, of upper caste, were even against the Dalits who tried to celebrate Dr. B.R.Ambedkar’s birthday and some dalit boys were brutally assaulted for supporting moustaches.
The inhuman treatment to the Dalits made them protest on the streets to demand for better treatment. Young boys were seen wearing t-shirts that read “it’s a Dalit thing, you won’t understand”.
Chandrashekhar Azad, Dalit leader and founder of Bhim Army, delivered fiery speeches which stood for the Dalits and the in human treatment they were given. A case was registered in 2018 where 300 police officers and the struggle for 6 months made it possible for a groom to take out the wedding procession in a thakur dominated village. No wonder why Parthibaraja wanted a “no caste no religion” certificate.
She said in a statement that irrespective of caste or religion, the people with any means in their life should apply for the “no caste or no religion” status because it will help the economically weaker section and various individuals who fight for a basic right and would get their due hassle-free.
Who Is Sneha Parthibaraja?
Sneha received her certificate from Sub Collector of Tiruppatur, B Priyanka Pankajam, after B. Priyanka verified school and college documents of Sneha where there was no mention of her caste or religion.
Another person who is involved in a fight to get “no religion no caste certificate” is Hyderabad-based DV Ramakrishna Rao. He has also been struggling and fighting for a legal battle for over 9 years claiming to de-link his identity from any caste or religion.
Sneha was brought up in a family that did not believe in any caste or religion and all her certificate had a nil or a blank in the cast and religion column. Sneha said in a statement that every form required a certificate and she realised that she needs an identity and “a sans caste and religion” certificate will do the work, describing her as an “Indian”.
Sub collector B Priyanka Pankajam said that they could not find any precedent but they decided to go ahead and certify her because such a step will not affect anybody and neither take away any other person’s opportunity.
Sneha’s Name And Family
Sneha is the first person in the country to be formally certified with a “no caste, no religion” certificate. Sneha said that a certificate is just a legal document but our family, which includes her parents, sisters, husband and daughters, have been leaving without any caste or religious identification!
She mentioned that her family is an atheist. Sneha and K Parthibaraja, her husband, have named their daughters as a mixture of names from Buddhist, Christian and Muslim religions.
Her daughters’ names are Aadhirai Nasreen, Adhila Irene and Aarifa Jessy.
Her younger sisters are named- Jennifer and Mumtaj Suriya.
Her parents belong to different castes and her initials, M.A, denote the first letters of her parents’ names.
Sneha is named after a Telangana girl, Snehalata, who died in police custody.