Tribal tag for Hattee community: Will consider demands of other remote areas too, says Jai Ram
Day after the Union cabinet accorded ST status to Hattee community living in Trans-Giri region of Srimaur, CM Jai Ram Thakur said state government would also consider the demand of other remote areas
Day after the Union cabinet accorded the ST status to the Hattee community living in the Trans-Giri region of Srimaur, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said the state government would also consider the demand of other remote areas and explore possibilities to include them in the Scheduled Tribe.
People of far-flung areas, including Bara Bhangal in Kangra, Malana of Kullu and Dodra-Kwar in Shimla, have been demanding the ST status for them.
“Yes, we have got demands from residents of these areas and even Chaupal of Shimla district. Now that issue of the Hattee community has been resolved, we will make positive efforts in that direction,” said Thakur, addressing a press conference here.
State party chief Suresh Kashyap, who is also a Lok Sabha member from Shimla, accompanied him. Pachhad legislator Reena Kashyap was also present along with power minister Sukhram Chaudhary and former MLA Baldev Tomar.
The chief minister said he was delighted that the Union cabinet took this important decision on this matter, which was an issue of an emotional issue for the Hattee community.
He said the demand was long pending and dates back to 1967 when the Jaunsar region of Uttarakhand was given a tribal status.
“The Jaunsar region of Uttarakhand shares boundaries with Himachal in Sirmaur and some families have close relatives living on both sides. While those in Uttarakhand were STs, in Himachal they didn’t have the ST status,” said Thakur.
The chief minister expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah for understanding this complex issue. He also thanked BJP national president JP Nadda and Union information and broadcast minister for taking forward the issue.
ST status for Hattees will benefit nearly 1.60 lakh population spread across four assembly segments, Pachhad, Shillai, Renukaji and Paonta Sahib, he said.
The CM made it clear that the ST status was granted to the Hattee community and not the Trans-Giri area due to population criteria.
He said the first resolution to declare Trans-Giri an ST area was submitted to the Centre by the then Congress government in 2005 which was rejected. “Thereafter, Congress didn’t touch this issue,” he said.
After the BJP government led by former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal came to power, efforts were renewed and a fresh proposal was sent in 2011.
In 2018, the current government took up the matter with the then Union home minister and minister of tribal affairs after which the Union government sought a fresh proposal on the bases of a detailed ethnographic report, he said.
He said in March 2021, the home minister wrote back stating that as per the 2011 Census, the population of Scheduled Tribe was just 0.20% in the Trans-Giri region and doesn’t meet the criteria of 50% ST population fixed for declaring a region Scheduled Tribe Area.
“The Centre, however, said that first the Hattee community should be accorded ST status and after that possibility will be explored to declare Trans-Giri as ST area,” said the chief minister.
The reworked proposal was sent twice in September 2021 and March 2022.
The CM also made it clear that the sentiments of the local SC population have not been included in the ST category so that their rights are not affected.
PCC chief calls decision election-oriented
Meanwhile, Congress president Pratibha Singh has congratulated the Hattee community of Sirmaur for getting the ST status. She said that the people of Sirmaur district were fighting for their demand for a long time and their struggle has been finally got success.
She expressed doubts that this decision might not turn out to be just an election promise.
She said former CM Virbhadra Singh had demanded the Centre to give tribal status to the Hattee community in the state.
She urged the government to implement this decision immediately. However, while terming this decision as election-oriented, she said that now it has to be seen when the government implements this decision. She said that assembly elections are going to be held soon in the state, in such a situation, the central government has taken this decision probably to give political benefits to the BJP government of the state.