12 Arunachal Pradesh tribes included in ST list with separate identity

Arunachal, August 10: The Lok Sabha, on Monday, passed The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2021. The Bill was passed after a brief discussion as some Opposition members kept protesting in the House. The Bill seeks amendment to the constitutional list of Scheduled Tribes as recommended by Arunachal Pradesh. 

On the basis of recommendations of the state government of Arunachal Pradesh, the bill provides for modifying Part-XVIII of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, relating to Arunachal Pradesh. 

It provides for the deletion of ‘Abor’ (tribe) in serial No. 1, as it is the same as ‘Adi’ in serial No. 16. Secondly, it proposed to replace ‘Tai Khamti’ instead of ‘Khampti’ at serial No. 6 of the list.  

It also provides for the inclusion of ‘Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi)’, ‘Idu (Mishmi)’ and ‘Taraon (Digaru Mishmi)’ in serial No. 8 in lieu of ‘Mishmi, Idu, Taroan’ in the list. It provides for the inclusion of ‘Monpa’, ‘Memba’, ‘Sartang’, ‘Sajolang (Miji)’ in serial No. 9 in lieu of ‘Momba’ in the list. It also provides for the inclusion of ‘Nocte’, ‘Tangsa’, ‘Tutsa’, ‘Wancho’ in lieu of ‘Any Naga Tribes’ in serial No. 10 of the list. 

However, a proposal to grant ST status to six indigenous communities in Assam is still pending with the Centre for approval. 

The proposal of the grant of ST status to the six indigenous communities has been a raging issue in Assam since the tribal communities do not see them as indigenous. 

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Currently, these six communities – Koch-Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutia and tea tribes – in Assam are categorised as Other Backward Classes (OBCs). 

These six communities in Assam have been accusing successive governments of betraying and denying them benefits of reservation in education, employment and legislature. 

Notably, the BJP Government in the Centre sat on the proposal until January 2019 when Assam was up in arms against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now Act) fearing it would allow more migration thereby posing a threat to the state’s ethnic demography.  

In order to calm the tempers, the Centre had introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to include the six communities in the ST category, but the same was not put to vote and allowed to lapse due to reasons best known to the ruling BJP.