Provide Reservation for Adivasi Dalits In SC, ST Quota

Kulbhushan Upmanyu Kulbhushan Upmanyu

(The writer is an environmentalist heading Himalaya Niti Abhiyan)

People residing in tribal areas of the country were given reservation facilities by giving them the tribal status under the 5th and 6th schedule of Indian constitution. This also lead to 7.5% reservation to scheduled tribes (STs) in politics and other jobs. It is obvious that scheduled tribes will continue to enjoy these facilities till economic and social parity is achieved in the society. Similarly a provision of 15% reservation for Scheduled castes (SCs) and 27% reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) was also made in the constitution.

Unique thing about tribal communities is that it is constituted on clan basis and the whole clan constitutes of one caste only. There is no disparity in the community on caste basis like in Hindu society. Therefore the socio-economic condition of almost entire tribal clan remains similar and that can reap equal benefits of facilities available. But Sippi, Koli, Rihara communities in scheduled tribes in Himachal Pradesh and Kolta etc scheduled tribes at Jonsaar Babar in Uttarakhand are considered to be untouchables. Therefore practically their right identity should be Adivasi- Dalit. They are lagging behind being a scheduled tribe but being untouchables they lagged behind as compared to tribal people. Chamang and Baiyaroo castes of Kinnaur also fall in this category. Obviously these adivasi dalit castes had to compete with common tribal community in tribal areas at the same level. There is no adivasi-dalit like category in the constitution, therefore they have to either compete in ST category or SC category which makes it difficult for them to stand a chance in the competition in those categories. Special provisions needs to be made in tribal society to ensure their welfare. But in the present scenario when most important bills stand least chances of discussion in the parliament, how could we expect a serious discussion on this issue? And its chances become more remote as the size of this category is relatively too smaller having little impact as vote bank.

Since this issue is related to small hill states Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, providing importance to tehse issues is an uphill task. Legislators from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand should collectively raise voice for it in the parliament. It is not anybody’s fault if there are such tribes in the country that are still stuck in casteism. Welfare of adivasi dalits can be ensured by providing double protection to this community from both ST and SC quota in the states where they exists. They should also get equitable representation in panchayati raj institutes which is not possible in present system. We hope that our governments attention will divert toward this issue and some solution for this problem will be found out.

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