Pointing out that 97 communities are listed as tea tribes in the state, authoritative security sources in the home ministry told this newspaper that most of them are listed as Other Backward Class (OBC) at their respective place of origin so all in the list of tea tribes of Assam can’t be granted ST status.
Disclosing that Cabinet memorandum has already been prepared to include 26 adivsis in the schedule list of Assam, authoritative security sources said that the ministry has also forwarded the report of a parliamentary committee in 2002 to the tribal affairs ministry which proposed to include tribal groups — Tai Ahom, Moran, Motok, Koch-Rajbongshis, and Chutia with adivsis in the schedule list.
It is significant that 26 adivasi communities, which are going to be included in the schedule list of Assam, have Scheduled Tribe status in their respective place of origin. The adivasis, which is known as tea tribes in Assam, comprising present and past plantation workers, have an estimated population of more than 60 lakhs in Assam.
However, due to sizeable presence of OBC workers in the tea-tribe community, the Adivasis of Jharkhand origin were deprived of getting the ST status which they have been accorded at their respective states of origin.
Clarifying that a parliamentary committee in 2002 had recommended the inclusion of these communities in the schedule list of Assam, security sources said that home ministry has already started the process.