Khas get OBC tag in tribal status push

Darjeeling town
Darjeeling: The Bengal government has decided to include the Khas community of the Gorkhas in the Other Backward Classes list.
The Khas is considered as "an upper caste" among Gorkhas and among 10 hill communities which demand the tribal status.
The Khas community leaders have welcomed the state's decision terming it as a step towards realising their tribal tag demand.
R.B. Raya, the assistant secretary of the Khas Bharatiya Hitkari Sammelan, said on Tuesday: "We thank the state government for accepting our demand. Inclusion of our community in the OBC will boost our demand for tribal status as we are not considered as backward."
The Backward Classes Welfare Department issued a gazette notification on March 29, 2018, notifying the inclusion of the Khas in the OBC (Category B). "Whereas it has been made to appear to the Governor that the West Bengal Commission for Backward Classes has recommended one new class of people, namely, Khas, as Other Backward Classes of this State included in the list of Other Backward Classes under the Heading "Backward (Category B')".
"Now, therefore, in exercise of the power conferred...the Governor, is pleased herby to make, with immediate effect, the following amendment in the Schedule 1 appended to the said Act," the notification reads.
Even though the OBC demand has been accepted, the community's main objective is to get itself included in the ST list.
"We will continue with our demand for the tribal status," said Raya.

Binay Tamang, the chairman of the board of administrators of the GTA, said: "I would like to congratulate members of the Khas community and chief minister Mamata Banerjee for including the Khas community in the OBC list."
Aware of the sentiment among the community members, Tamang promised that the GTA would continue to fight for granting tribal status to the community.
"The Khas, along with other communities, has been demanding tribal status for many years. The onus of granting the tribal status is on the Centre and the GTA is working on the issue to ensure that Khas, along with other communities, is included in the Schedule Tribe list," said Tamang.
With the inclusion of the Khas in the OBC, there are now a total of 96 communities in the state who have been granted this status.

The Telegraph

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