Five decades on, systematic persecutions of Yobins continue…

Source: The Assam Sentinel, 31 July 2010 (accessed: 10 August 2010).

ITANAGAR, July 31: Yobins were evicted from their ancestral villages in 1961, deprived of road-connectivity since 1975, dispossessed of their ST status since 1979 and were cast-out from Indian Citizenship for 14 long years between 1980 and 1994- these are documented facts. And the genesis of such tragic Indian citizenship for the Yobins- aboriginal tribe of Dawodi (Vijaynagar) started on May 07, 1961 during Chaukan Pass Expedition which was under taken by 7th Assam Rifles under the leadership of late Major Sunder Singh.

Same Dawodi was named as Khamong village and later re-christened as Vijaynagar by the officers and soldiers of 7th Assam Rifles to Indianize them further. During the same expedition, Yobins residing in different villages were evicted from their ancestral villages, huddled and confined together further inside Indian territory in a place called Shidi, now referred to as Gandhigram, which is at 135th  miles on Miao-Vijaynagar Road. Around the period of 1961, evicted places and villages of Yobins was handed over to the ex-servicemen in the name of national security along the international boundary with Burma. Army personnel changed the local names of the villages from Gwamidi to Phaparbari, Ngwanalo to Gehri Gaon, Angchidu to Ramnagar and Badadi to Preetnagar and likewise.

Such aggressive posture of government and Army personnel appears to have been uncalled for since Yobins were Indian Citizens according to Article 5 of the Constitution of India. Further, Phusa Yobin, President of Yobin Tribe Welfare Committee points out, “The Presidential Order of 1956 which clearly mentioned that all the tribes of the NEFA are to be treated as Scheduled Tribe (ST). Even during 1961 census names of 80 tribes and sub-tribes was returned and Yobins were enlisted at Sl. No. 78 and again during 1981 census Yobins were enlisted at Sl. no. 107.”  Effectively, Yobins have been APST for years. In 1980, with the coming of new government at Itanagar under the leadership of Gegong Apang, Yobins were delisted from the Indian citizenship. Such systemic persecutions of small and endangered community like Yobins, which is just 2000 in population as per 2001 census in Arunachal Pradesh, appear to be politically motivated within federal structure of Indian democracy.

“We appeal to Khandu government to correct the ill-treatment meted to our community and restore our APST status. We also wish to lead a life with pride and dignity as Arunachalees,” Phusa said.

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