Mohd. Momin is a student of Delhi School of Social work
Jantar Mantar, Delhi : Though the Jantar Mantar area is a deserted place these days with no Anna movement and political party banner but one can still find the voice from that India which is still searching an ear to be heard. While on the one hand, there are demands from Patel in Gujarat and Jats in Haryana for inclusion into the other backward communities (OBC) at different places, there is another side to such type of demands.
Has anyone thought about the change in status of already marginalised people who are getting the benefits of affirmative action? Girijana community consists of nearly 35 sub castes with a population of around 50 lacs people in Andhra Pradesh. The word “Girijana” means hill people. As per Andhra Pradesh Girijana Communities JAC state president Anumulavamsi Krishna, only 47% of their population is literate. Scheduled tribes backlog posts are not filled for last twelve years. After the bifurcation of the state into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, there is further deterioration of the conditions of Girijana communities in Andhra Pradesh. There is no separate commission made for the scheduled tribes. The appointed chairman of AP SC/ST commission belongs to Dalit community. Moreover, charge of tribal welfare and empowerment ministry in the state has been given to social welfare and empowerment minister who also belongs to the Dalit community.
Over and above this, politics has its own play which is pulling Girijana community backward. The election in newly carved state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana saw many promises made to different communities for their inclusion in scheduled tribes. One such community is Boya. As per Andhra Pradesh Girijana Communities JAC state president Anumulavamsi Krishna, Boya community population is around 25 lacs and their inclusion into the scheduled tribes would make Girijana communities further marginalized. Moreover, he claims that Boya community is already much progressed than Girijana communities. Three member committee, under retired IAS officer S. Chellappa, formed by Telangana government to study about the inclusion of Valmiki Boya and Khaithi Lambada communities into Scheduled Tribe list has already seen many protests in the state of Telangana. Under such circumstances, decision by Andhra Pradesh government to include Boya community into scheduled tribe list may generate a huge protest from the Girijana communities.
The seriousness of the matter can be noted from the fact that people from Girijana community coming all the way from Andhra Pradesh are sitting at Jantar Mantar in order to get their voices heard. They have planned to submit their memorandum to different ministries and raise their issue at national level.
The irony is that even after more than sixty five years of independence, there are still demands from various sections of society for inclusion into scheduled tribes or other backward communities status in order to get reservation benefits. Some of them express their dissent through violence and others peaceful protest.
The government has already set a precedent by choosing one over other. The protest by Jats in state of Haryana and garment workers in Bangalore did trigger an immediate response from government. Is government sending a message to its citizens that the protestors have to create a law & order problem, to get a response!