Centre mulls specific tribe names in ST list

Centre mulls specific tribe names in ST list

New Delhi, June 7: The Centre is considering a proposal to replace the generic “Any Naga Tribes” by specific names of tribes in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) for Arunachal Pradesh. The move is likely to undermine the demand for Nagalim.
The proposal, sent by the Arunachal Pradesh Government, is being examined by the Tribal Affairs Ministry, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram told The Telegraph.
He said another proposal to include 11 Gorkha tribes in the ST list for the states of Sikkim and West Bengal is also under consideration.
“The demand for inclusion of 11 Gorkha tribes for Sikkim and other states and amending the generic name of Naga tribes is under consideration. Decision will be taken on merit,” Oram said.
Official sources said replacing the generic term with specific name would undermine the NSCN (I-M)’s demand for Nagalim or greater Nagaland, comprising all the Naga-inhabited areas around Nagaland. “The NSCN (I-M)’s demand will become weaker if the tribes in Arunchal Pradesh are identified by their own names,” an official said.
Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts have a sizable Naga population.
The ST lists for Assam and Meghalaya also have generic “Naga tribe”. However, the Governments of these states are yet to make a proposal.
According to the norms, a state Government has to send a proposal for inclusion, exclusion or any other amendment to the existing names of tribes in the ST list. The Ministry sends the proposal to the Registrar General of India for further examination. If approved by the RGI, the proposal is sent to the National Commission Scheduled Tribe. Then the Ministry prepares a constitutional amendment bill to incorporate the changes in the ST list and takes it to Parliament following approval of the cabinet.
Professor Mahendra P Lama, who teaches at the Centre of South Asia Studies and specialises in the Northeast, said Arunchal’s proposal may upset the NSCN (I-M). “The NSCN is negotiating with the Centre for Nagalim, considering Nagas as a community and not as separate groups. It may oppose the proposal.”
He, however, found merit in the proposal. “There are a large number of Naga groups with different culture. The Arunchal Pradesh Government may have thought of identifying each group living in the state instead of having open-ended generic Naga tribes in the ST list,” he said.
He pointed out that various groups in other states were against the idea of Nagalim. (TTNE)