ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Alternative ST Criteria

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The objective of the article “Demand for Scheduled Tribe Status by Koch-Rajbongshis” by Kapil Chandra Roy (EPW, 3 November 2018) was to analyse the authenticity of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) status demand of the Koch-Rajbongshi community in Assam, along with five other communities. With regard to the Koch-Rajbongshis, it is observed that “the lack of recognition is due to a paucity of proper evidence of their original tribal identity.” Against this backdrop, it is interesting to see how the author analysed the authenticity of the ST status demand and the basis of this analysis.

To do so, the author historically traces the tribal identity elements of the Koch-Rajbongshis, and states that the “criteria which was used more than 80 years ago may not be appropriate at the present time” to accord ST status to the Koch-Rajbonghis. Given this context, it would have been more appropriate to add some indicators to the existing criteria or modify these to fit the current needs. It is unfortunate that we have not developed our own criteria for the inclusion of communities as STs in independent India. It is true that there is an urgent need for alternative ways and mechanisms to identify, recognise, and grant ST status to the communities. The author has not made any such attempt, except for saying that there is a necessity for “an alternative way to grant ST status to these communities.”

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Updated On : 16th Nov, 2018

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