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‘Real tribes’ move BJP

New Delhi, Dec. 2: The state BJP has urged the Prime Minister’s Office and Union tribal welfare ministry to include Khetauri, Ghatwal, Bhuiyan-Ghatwal, Perivar and Kedar, largely found in Santhal Pargana, in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, it perhaps does not take a mind reader to figure out that the state BJP wants to steal JMM’s thunder as far as tribal concerns go.

In a recent letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Godda MP Nishikant Dubey, on behalf of the BJP state party unit, pointed out these are “real tribes” of Santhal Pargana and their names got omitted from the list in 1950 due to a “clerical error”.

“I raised the issue earlier too, but in vain. In 1912, British officer R. Carstairs, a collector of Santhal Pargana (then called Sonthal Pergunnahs), had written in his book — The little world of Indian district officer — that the five communities were aboriginal tribes. And, Santhals, now the majority in the region, came only around 1820. I arranged a copy of this historical record from the library of California University, the US, and sent the details to the Union government for consideration,” Dubey told The Telegraph.

He alleged these “real tribes”, whose population collectively stands around 25 lakh, were denied their rightful place in the state.

Dubey claimed the government was all set to include these names in 1950 when the list of Scheduled Tribes was being notified, but their names got omitted due to a clerical error — a blunder never corrected.

“These people are being denied their rights because of politics, lack of foresight and people’s reluctance to re-examine history for fear of the truth,” Dubey said in his letter to the PM.

According to sources, these tribes are extremely backward and lag behind in all development indices. One of them, Bhuiyan-Ghatwal group, is recognised in the Scheduled Caste category.

Sources in the Union tribal welfare ministry said the Centre had asked the Jharkhand and Odisha governments to send their views on the issue of incorporating these tribal groups in the SC/ST list after Dubey had raised the issued in Parliament in 2009. The states did not respond.

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