ST call takes centre stage

Khambu hungerstrike for tribal status
Darjeeling: The tribal issues is now taking centre stage in hill politics with all major parties throwing their weight behind granting of tribal status to 11 communities.
The immediate trigger seems to be the state government's decision to write to the Union tribal affairs ministry recommending the inclusion of the 11 communities in the Schedule Tribe list.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on February 16 written to Union tribal minister Jual Oram pushing for the tribal status.
"The Cultural Research Institute conducted Ethnographic Studies of all the eleven communities and stated that that these communities possess distinctive characters found among the Tribal communities and suggested that the said communities may be considered as Schedule Tribes of West Bengal," the chief minister's letter states.
The chief minister has also reminded the Centre that state cabinet had recommended inclusion in the ST list of West Bengal on February 24, 2016.
The eleven communities include Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunuwar, Thami, Yakha (Dewan) and Dhimal.
At the moment, the tribal population in the hill constitutes around 34 percent.

On Thursday, Binay Tamang, chairman of board of administrators, Gorkhaland Territorial Administration also wrote to Union tribal minister, Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling.
"We would like to thank the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee for taking steps for inclusion of 11 communities in the ST list. I also wrote a letter to the Union home minister and Union tribal minister pursing the case," said Tamang who added that he would also be visiting Delhi soon to take up this matter.
"I will put my best foot forward to ensure that 11 communities are included in the ST list. I will be visiting Delhi soon," said Tamang.
Tamang also wrote to Chamling requesting him to follow the issue. "During our meeting with Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling on March 27, the tribal issue had been discussed at length. This is why I have written to the chief minister of Sikkim," said Tamang.
Chamling and Tamang had agreed to pursue the tribal issue.
The GNLF said on Thursday that they would be sending a delegation to Delhi soon to pursue the tribal issue.
"A delegation of the GNLF will be going to Delhi soon to pursue the matter with the Registrar General of India (RGI), National Commission on Schedule Tribe and Union tribal affairs minister," said Neeraj Zimba, spokesman, GNLF.
On March 29, the state government also issued a gazette notification notifying the inclusion of Khas community in the OBC list of the state. The community has welcomed the move and believe that it is a step forward toward inclusion of the community in the ST list.

The Telegraph

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