Ministers oppose demands of ST status to Gujjars

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Jaipur, Oct 1 (UNI) The national convention of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, attended by four Union ministers and two Rajasthan cabinet members, protested against the Gujjar community's demand for ST status and warned that any inclusion or change in the ST list would not be tolerated by tribal communities in the country.

The Gujjars' demand for inclusion in the ST list dominated the opening day deliberation of the two day 14th national meet of the tribals which was inaugurated by Union Tribal Affairs Minister P R Kyndiah and attended by Union Ministers -- Namo Narain Meena, Kanti Lal Bhuria and Manik Rao Gavit and Rajasthan state ministers -- Dr Kirodi Lal Meena and Kanak Mal Katara.

Dignitaries including several former Union or state ministers, former MPs, sitting MLAs and delegates from various states also participated in the convention.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kanti Lal Bhuria said certain forces, in collusion with the political leaders, were trying to grab tribals' share of reservation by unduly demanding inclusion of Gujjar community into ST list.

Mr Bhuria said that this was not tolerable to tribal communities and all tirbals of the country would wage a united struggle against such a demand and would counter the move through peaceful but massive agitation.

He said that demand of the inclusion was not justified on cultural, social and educational ground.

Opposing the Gujjar's demand, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Namo Narain Meena condemned the Rajasthan Government for assuring the Gujjars for sending its recommendation to the Centre and for setting up three member Chopra Committee for examining the Gujjars' demand.

Mr Meena said that this was all political gimmick as the state government could send recommendations for inclusion in the ST list only in favour of a scheduled tribe.

Union Minister of State for Home Manik Rao Gavit wondered how a community could justify its demand of ST status after six decades of the Independence.

Mr Gavit said that such demands had been rejected by competent commissions and committees on several occasions.

Rajasthan's Food and Civil Supply Minister Dr Kirodi Lal Meena also opposed the demand and urged the Centre to include the issue of reservation in the 9th schedule of the Constitution to accord it immunity against inclusions or changes in the lists.

Another member of Rajasthan cabinet, Tribal Development Minister Kanak Mal Katara was confident that Gujjars did not qualify for the ST status and the Chopra Committee was unlikely to make favourable recommendations for Gujjars.

Adivasi Vikas Parishad President Somji Bhai Damor warned that the tribals which numbered around 10 crore in the country, would not tolerate any change in the ST list and would respond effectively any bid to snatch the benefit accorded to them by the constitution.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister P R Kyndiah said that even after the receipt of a favourable recommendation from the concerned state government, the process of inclusion was lengthy and complicated involving Parliament and ST Commission and then Tribal Affairs Ministry.


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