Monday, Dec 04, 2023 09:15 [IST]
Last Update: Monday, Dec 04, 2023 03:38 [IST]
GANGTOK,: The presidents and members of the 12 indigenous ethnic communities of Sikkim, under the umbrella of EIECOS+1, on Sunday resolved that the rights and interests of all the 12 indigenous left-out communities of Sikkim be restored by granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status as guaranteed in Article 371F of the Indian Constitution.
The resolution was signed by all the organisation presidents of the 12 left-out communities and EIECOS+1 chairman Dr. SK Rai, convenor Raju Basnet, general secretary Mani Kumar Pradhan etc. during a discussion and workshop on the ‘Demand for ST status for 12 left-out communities of Sikkim’ organised by EIECOS+1 at Chintan Bhawan here.
“The resolution on the grant of Scheduled Tribe status to twelve indigenous ethnic communities of Sikkim states that all tribes of Sikkim live in a similar social and economic condition and the left-out 12 indigenous ethnic tribes of Sikkim are similarly disadvantaged if not more by the geographic location and treacherous terrain of the region. Although the concept of Scheduled Tribes was not prevalent in Sikkim during the Chogyal regime, these 12 communities were placed at the same pedestal as reserved category in terms of seats in State Assembly and jobs,” expressed convener Raju Basnet during his keynote address.
“The British Census of 1921, 1931 and 1941 placed all indigenous Sikkimese communities at par with the primitive and backward tribes of mainland India. After merger with the Indian Union in 1975, all the ethnic communities were treated at par with Scheduled Tribes of other States in India till 1979, protected under the Article 371F of the Constitution. After 1979, grave injustice was done and the rights and interests of these 12 indigenous ethnic communities were diluted and abrogated and have not been restored till date in spite of persistent cry for justice. Deliberating on all the issues of the communities, finally a resolution has been adopted in today’s workshop,” said Basnet.
A 30-35-member delegation led by Chief Minister PS Golay, and consisting of representatives of the 12 left-out communities and the TN Dhakal-led committee will leave for Delhi, with demand of their tribal status on December 4.
The Chief Minister will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the Union Home and Tribal ministries with the demand, it was informed.
“The TN Dhakal committee prepared an extensive report that was presented to the State government. The same report will be presented to the Central government. With the submission of the ethnographic report, backed by Article 371F, we are hopeful that the resolution will be brought to the Parliament in this winter session and we are declared tribal,” said EIECOS+1 chairman Dr. SK Rai.
Our effort is to make everyone hear that we exist on this planet and our rights and interests should be resolved, as we are crying for justice, added Basnet.
EIECOS+1 is an umbrella body of organisations seeking ST recognition for the 12 left-out communities of Sikkim. The 12 communities of Sikkim seeking tribal status are Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunuwar, Giri-Sanyasi, Thami, Dewan and Majhi.
Every association presented a 10-minute presentation highlighting the importance of tribal status for their respective communities, during the workshop.