AAPSU & Yobin Community: The Relationship

I find this article very interesting to see the relationship that our students had with AAPSU over the years. In the 70s, our students participated in fund raising and other activities of students. In the 80s, AAPSU in one of their agendas had Yobin as refugee. But as the story unfolds, the apex student body both from former and current leadership supported in Yobin favour. I heard snippets of them on several occasions. But this is first time, I learned in highly organized format.

– Liahey

======

Source: The Eastern Sentinel (20 February 2015)

The same article was slightly edited and published in Arunachal Times (20 February 2015) under the title: Yobins deserve ST status

Yobins deserve ST status

ITANAGAR, Feb 19: Yobin Tribe Fundamental Rights Forum (YTFRF) has expressed strong resentment over the refugee tag/label given on the Yobin community.

Claiming that authorized legal documents of Government of India states ‘Yobin’ as a native tribe of Tirap district since 1940s, the Forum urged All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) and people of the state to stand for the cause of the Yobins.

Referring to Presidential Order published in “Gazette of India, Extra Ordinary, Part II, Section 3, in October, 29, 1956, wherein it is claimed to be stated that “Yobin Tribe avails APST under “SC & ST lists (Modification),” the Forum dismissed any questions or doubts over Yobin’s tribal identity.

While recalling Yobin community’s long association with AAPSU and their contribution since the union’s early days, the Forum in its release informed that former Chief Minister and then AAPSU president Late Jarbom Gamlin had remarked that, “…people of the state should not equate the Yobins with refugees as the former (Yobin) are indigenous inhabitants of Vijaynagar area…”

The Forum also informed that former AAPSU president and MP Takam Sanjoy and present AAPSU president Kamta Lapung too claimed to have publicly acknowledged the tribal identity of the Yobins during their visit to Yobin village of Dawodi/Vijaynagar in mid-March 2013. The Forum also claimed that the Joint-High Power Committee members during their visit upheld Yobin’s cause in a public meeting held at IB compound, Vijaynagar.

It also informed that the Arunachal East MP had written to Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GOI in favour of granting ST status to Yobins.

“… kindly intervene in this long pending demand of Yobin Tribe which is also supported by the Cabinet & other public representatives of the State of Arunachal Pradesh is genuine and well deserving of positive response from Govt. of India….”

“… Records reveal that the Yobins are living in Vijaynagar circle since forties of the last century. They are purely Tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh living in Vijaynagar Circle of Miao Sub-Division in Changlang District. The demand for inclusion of Yobin or Lisu to Scheduled Tribe Status in Arunachal Pradesh is very much genuine and deserve for early reorganization by the Government”, the Forum quoted the Miao ADC. (Ref. “No M/ESTT/PF/TM/14 Dated Miao, the 20th November, 2014”).

In 2000, AAPSU president Nabam Jallow assured the Yobin community that any misunderstanding about the Yobin’s legal standing will be erased from AAPSU agenda, the forum informed in the release.

The Forum also claimed that fellow local tribes, including the Singpho and Tangsa communities too vouched for granting ST status to Yobins.

Tuki for ST status to Lisus

Even before the Arunachal dailies published on granting of ST to Lisu, The Telegraph released our news. The author has brought this from multiple angles. A couple of comments on a few:

· Along with our news, the demand for ST from Assam tribes were added. Perhaps, to highlight the other tribes awaiting ST recognition.

· Our case was analysed in the context of China. I don’t think our government considered those angles. Rather in all their documents, our origins, public support, legal documents were furnished.

· The reservation of AAPSU was highlighted.

==== Liahey

Tuki for ST status to Lisus

– A quest for identity

Nishit Dholabhai

New Delhi, Feb. 16: A decision taken by the Arunachal Pradesh government last week to grant Scheduled Tribe status to the Lisu people is likely to have far-reaching, strategic implications.

Lisus (or Yobin as they are called in Arunachal Pradesh), live in the finger-like territory of India in Changlang district.
The land mass is surrounded by Myanmar on three sides and is near China.

The Centre is in favour of the move because the security establishment believes that co-opting the Lisus, who also live in China and are influenced by Han Chinese culture, could prevent them from being co-opted by the Chinese. In other words, the Lisus could be better entrenched into the Indian mainstream.

The community has its population in four villages, including Vijaynagar and Gandhigram where the Assam Rifles has a presence since 1961. It was during the first forays by the Assam Rifles that the Lisus had helped the Indian forces as porters.

Living on the southeastern periphery of the Namdapha tiger reserve, the Lisus have been demanding inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) for 20 years. The state cabinet is likely to clear the proposal shortly, a state government source said.

“It is an important decision because the Lisus also live in China’s Yunnan province and in the Sagaing division of Myanmar that borders India,” a source said. “Besides recognising them as one of the Arunachalese peoples, it could also help prevent poaching in Namdapha forest,” he added.

While some believe that it is the Lisus who actually protect the forests, sections of the state administration insist that Lisus are responsible for hunting tigers.

However, it is the strategic aspect that the Centre is likely to focus upon more intently before taking a final call.
The Arunachal government will forward a proposal to grant ST status to the Lisus to the Union home ministry after the cabinet approves it.

One aspect that has puzzled security agencies is the clamour by minority religious organisations for ST status for the Lisus.

“If pushing for their ST status is used as a pre-condition to convert them then it needs to be verified,” a government source said.

Moreover, there are pockets of Lisu population who have converted to Christianity in Myanmar. A Buddhist-majority Myanmar has been suspicious of Christian missionaries working in the tribal areas of northern and northwestern Myanmar.

“They deserve it (ST status),” minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju told The Telegraph today. A delegation of Lisus had recently called on Rijiju.

The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union, however, has reservations about the government’s move. An AAPSU source said it would not allow granting them ST status unless a detailed study is done on the Lisu people’s migration and origins. “We need to know the ground realities,” the source said.

Charles Maung Bo, who was installed by Pope Francis as the first Cardinal from Myanmar on February 14, has expressed concern over intolerance towards Myanmar’s religious minorities, especially Rohingya Muslims.

Source: The Telegraph (17 February 2015)

Objection of AAPSU on Yobin ST

It took me a while to read the concerns the AAPSU has raised over the Yobin ST issue since the heading was under “AAPSU demands immediate halt of prepaid metering system” (Arunachal Times, 18 February 2015). The concern was raised to the Chief Secretary, not the Chief Minister. See the complete below highlighted in red.

My reading into their objections: The first, is that the student body felt upset that the Cabinet has not consulted them. Second, the union has mixed up between the PRC and ST issue. Ours has never been a demand for PRC, but rightly on ST. Third, they question the scrutiny process. In our case, multiple studies were done by AAPSU themselves in March 2013, administration through ethnographic record and recommendations etc.

Also I have compiled the response from Mr. Phuyosa Yobin on this regard at the Arunachal Times’ Readers’ Forum (20 February 2015)

Careful Attention Needed for Vijoynagar Block

It is now almost two years since the creation of a separate Vijoynagar Block. There seems to be several gaps in the way it is being run. The people in Kerala calls such gaps “spelling mistakes”, meaning there is something wrong, something fishy, that deserves careful scrutiny. Lets have a look,

· Announcement of block: It was done in such a hurry in March 2013, just a month before the Panchayat election in April the same year. Due to that, even additional Anchal Samiti Member seats were not allotted. Till date the Notification for the Block is not given to our public leaders, including the ASMs.

· Infrastructures: No separate Block Development Officer (BDO) is not assigned. The Miao BDO operates for Vijoynagar Block as well, who is physically far from the actual sites. All financial transactions have to be at Miao since there are no banks in Vijoynagar. The Circle Officer (CO) is not stationed in Vijoynagar. The Miao CO takes in-charge who has not been even in Vijoynagar till today and has no good knowledge of the area.

· Intentionally MISPLACED names: The village names for both the Enumeration Block Nos: 0037_0 and 0038_0 has been wrongly mentioned as Deban Forest Camp (Deban). It should be corrected as AGUCHI & NGWAZAKHA for EB No: 0037_0 and NIBODI for EB No: 0038_0. These villages are NOT located at Deban; they are at 38th Mile and 52nd Mile respectively, along the Miao-Vijoynagar Road.

· Lisu villages included under Miao Block: Aguchi, Ngwazakha and Nibodi villages are demarcated under Miao Block. This is unfair and testing the limit of our Lisu temper. They must come within the purview of our claim of traditional land. All Panchayati leaders, YTWC, political workers, GBs must unite to fight this injustice.

· Block name: Our leaders had been demanding that the block should be Dawodi Block. But against our wishes, the government name it Vijoynagar Block. This is not acceptable and we must demand change for the name.

I believe these are just samples of the manipulations that I see. We need action heroes who will challenge unreasonable official authorities, and if necessary file court cases against them.

Lok Sabha Debates on ST of Yobin and other Tribes

Last year in June, our MP Ninong Ering proposed our name along with other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. But he had wrongly grouped us under Naga tribe, which is not true. In addition, his statement indicate, we have the ST privileges in the state.

Unfortunately, at the time of this Parliament session, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs had been waiting for the recommendation of the Register General of India (RGI) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in our favour.

For me this piece of Lok Sabha Debates gives an indication that our MP had raised our case in the Parliament.

Lok Sabha Debates

Need To Include Tangsa, Nocte, Tutcha, Wangchoo And Yubin Tribes Of … on 10 June, 2014

> Title: Need to include Tangsa, Nocte, Tutcha, Wangchoo and Yubin tribes of Arunachal Pradesh in the list of Scheduled Tribes.

SHRI NINONG ERING (ARUNACHAL EAST): I would like to bring it to the notice of Hon’ble Minister of Tribal Affairs, that there are five Tribes known as other Naga tribes who do not have any identity in the Constitution. Therefore, they do not enjoy the benefits of reservation as applicable to other Scheduled Tribes in competitive examinations. The tribes are Tangsa/Nocte/Tutcha/Wangchoo and Yubin of Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Hence it is important that they may be recognized as the Schedule Tribes (STs) of Arunachal Pradesh.

Source: http://indiankanoon.org/doc/56846897/ (accessed, 9 February 2015)

Response of NCST on Yobin

Source: Eastern Sentinel, 17 Dec 2014

RTI

In recent times I started thinking we have not yet learned to use this powerful tool. So far I know there was an attempt to find information about the land allocation to the retired military settlers in Vijoynagar area but has not yielded result. Other than that I know no other attempt. There are many avenues/information we should pry such as funds allocated for Vijoynagar Block, fund released for MV Road, criteria for giving the Panchayati Raj powers to the settlers of Vijoynagar when no other such communities are given such privilege etc.

In that connection, I read a news item where a PIO was fined for not giving requested information (See AP Times, 15 Dec 2014).

Penalty on PIO

ITANAGAR, Dec 15: The Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission has imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on Lod Tanya, PIO cum Executive Engineer, PHE and WS Division Ziro for defying the orders of the commission in an appeal made by an information seeker.

The commission further directed the PIO to appear before the commission on or before January 20 next.

Now RTI fee is reduced from Rs 10 per A4 page to just Rs 2. So no need to worry about large expenses to access this powerful weapon.

RTI

In recent times I started thinking we have not yet learned to use this powerful tool. So far I know there was an attempt to find information about the land allocation to the retired military settlers in Vijoynagar area but has not yielded result. Other than that I know no other attempt. There are many avenues/information we should pry such as funds allocated for Vijoynagar Block, fund released for MV Road, criteria for giving the Panchayati Raj powers to the settlers of Vijoynagar when no other such communities are given such privilege etc.

In that connection, I read a news item where a PIO was fined for not giving requested information (See AP Times, 15 Dec 2014).

Penalty on PIO

ITANAGAR, Dec 15: The Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission has imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on Lod Tanya, PIO cum Executive Engineer, PHE and WS Division Ziro for defying the orders of the commission in an appeal made by an information seeker.

The commission further directed the PIO to appear before the commission on or before January 20 next.

Now RTI fee is reduced from Rs 10 per A4 page to just Rs 2. So no need to worry about large expenses to access this powerful weapon.

Minutes of meeting in Deban

There was a high level meeting from the wildlife held in Deban with the agenda to relocate the Lisu people from our villages which they claim are under their control. I waited for the news reporter to publish in their paper but I didn’t see. So I have requested Avia, who had attended the meeting to share the minutes of the meeting. Below is a summary. — Liahey

=====

MEETING MINUTES AT DEBAN

Venue: Deban

Date: 17th Nov 2014

Agenda: “Relocation Of Lisu/Yobin Living In Namdapha Tiger Reserve”.

PARTICIPANTS:

Chairman: Dusu Shra, CF and FD Namdapha Tiger Reserve.

Speakers:

§ Dr. Yogesh, PCCF, Arunachal

§ Shri T. Mara, Miao ADC

§ DR. H.S. Negi, Inspector General of Forests (NTCA), Delhi

§ Mr Yoaphu Yobin, ZPM Vijoynagar

§ Shri. K. Chithan, Public Leader

§ Dr Rajesh Gopal, Addl. Director General & Member Scy (NTCA), Delhi

§ Shri. C. T. Mein, Parliamentary Scy Env. & Forests, Arunachal Pradesh.

THE VIEWS OF THE SPEAKERS MAY BE SUMMED UP AS UNDER:

ADC, Miao says: We have to Preserve the Wild Life. But do not let the public be put to difficulty. Find a solution.

PCCF, Dr Yogesh narrated how Namdapha was planned since 60s and how many meetings were conducted to shift Yobins out of the park. But the Yobins were not cooperating with the shifting plan.

ZPM, Vijoynagar said: The Yobin face land shortage. First the inhabited villages of Vijoynagar were given to the Settler brothers. Then about 50-60 families’ paddy fields were eroded by Noa-Dehing river off Gandhigram village. Both sides of Gandhigram is Burma with steep mountains. Then the Govt forcibly took away from 80th Mile, living almost no land for the Yobins. The public is forced to forage in more cultivable land.

Inspector General of Forests, Delhi Dr. H.S. Negi says: Namdapha is a world famous one. We have to conserve it. He urged the people to take money (10 lakh per family) and move out of the park. He says there will be no development within the park. He asks the people to think of the future of their children.

Many Yobin/Lisu leaders spoke. Some of the statements were:

Mr Adhusay: The dispute over Namdapha is the doing of authorities. They had forcefully, undemocratically snatched YOBIN’s land from 80th Mile. He named the officers who did this. He also named the villagers who were mercilessly beaten then they protested the demarcation of Namdapha at the 80th Mile.

Mrs Anatsa narrated how Nibodi village (at 52nd Mile M.V Road) was burnt in 1979 by the forest deptt. The villagers were told to assemble in the Church house. When they did so, every house was torched! They became homeless and food-less.

Other YOBIN leaders showed government Gazette documents that places YOBIN’s habitation along Noa- Dehing river since the 1940s. They also showed that it was only on 7th May (Sunday) 1961 that the first Indian agency (7th Assam Rifles in this case) came to Sidi/Gandhigram and flew the tricolor for the first time. This pre-dates YOBIN before Vijoynagar region ever became Indian; which happened only in 1972! This affords YOBINs right over the land.

Addl. Director General & Member Scy (NTCA), Dr. Rajesh Gopal and Paliamentary Scy Env. & Forests, Shri C. T. Mein both observed in the same theme. In essence they said four things: 1) Yobin community cannot be dislodged forcibly. The legal entitlements cannot be discounted with. 2) Staying inside the Sanctuary will hinder development and progress. 3) Namdapha is a world-famous park. We must preserve it. Somebody has to sacrifice it. 4) Keep the meeting/dialogue going. Make a core-group. Take them tours to see other ‘rehabilitated’ villages and let them learn from them.

The meeting then came to end with A F D winding with vote of thanks.

Good plans but implementation?

I took these photos on 1st June 2014, when these sign boards were just installed near the Indane Gas Godown.

A plain look at the detailed plans sound impressive and a perfect road that we need for all weather proof. But as I commute weekly between Miao and 3 Mile since February 2014 (when construction began), I see no progress. The road is not laid well even one inch till this day. The “beaten” stone lies randomly along the road. That’s why the road was blocked between TVS and 4th Mile for about three weeks in August this year, not to mention no vehicle cross the 6th Mile Pagla Nadi until October.

A simple point: Excellent plan but worthless implementation.