Centre must decide Gujjar issue fast: Shibu Soren

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Nagpur, June 9 (UNI) Former union minister Shibu Soren today said the Centre must take a decision on the demand by the Gujjar community in Rajasthan for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status as soon as possible.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Soren said any delay would be against the interests of the country and society. ''The more the delay in making a decision on the demand, the more will be the harm caused,'' he said.

The lifestyle, traditions and culture of the Gujjars were similar to those of tribals, Mr Soren said. ''They are tribals, but are now mostly living in urban areas,'' Soren said.

However, he parried a question when asked whether they should be given ST status. ''It is for the government to decide,'' he said.

Mr Soren, who was in the city to attend a function to mark the death anniversary of Birsa Munda, said a common forum of all the tribals and aboriginals in the country would be formed to fight for their rights. The National Tribal Aboriginal Forum would fight for the social, political, economic and cultural development of these communities, who had first right over the water, land and forests in the country, he said.

A meeting of the forum was slated to be held in New Delhi in August, where its agenda would be finalised, he added.

UNI AB OBB SB MIR KP1745

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