Yobins: Outcast on all fronts for no fault

Source: The Assam Sentinel, 6 August 2010 (accessed: 10 August 2010).

ITANAGAR, Aug 6: Yobins, who are hardly 2000 in number as per Census 2001, have been living in a contemptible situation, both socially and economically. Deprived of several rights, this tribe of a vibrant ethnic culture has hardly found space in the developmental scheme of the State government. ‘Pitiable is the condition’ is what Phusa Yobin, President of the Yobin Tribe Welfare Committee (YTWC), aptly describes the situation.

Going by the statistics, Phusa is far from being wrong. Out of the 2000-odd Yobins, only 1% are employed. This is a blot in the name of governance since even after 60 years of India’s Independence and after 20 years of Arunachal’s statehood, Yobins-inhabited areas around Vijaynagar (Dawodi) has no road communication that would link it with rest of the country.

“In absence of road communication and due to lack of higher education facilities in Vijaynagar, most of the students drop-out from school,” Phusa informed. He claims that another reason for high rate of school drop-out is the fact that most of the Yobins are poor and do not have enough money to send their children to Miao, the nearest town, for further studies. School drop-out rate amongst Yobins is as high as 70%.

Hinting at the root cause for such neglect and systematic deprivation of his tribe, Phusa blames on the misconceptions about the origin of Yobins.

“Our citizenship was doubted first. Later our scheduled tribe status was snatched away,” lamented Phusa.

The Arunachal government while restoring the Indian citizenship to Yobins vide notification No POL-57/79/ Vol. II dated January 18, 1994, it maintained a stoic silence on the APST status. This was despite the fact that Yobin tribe is enlisted in serial no 78 and serial no 107 of the 1961 and 1981 census operations respectively.

A glimmer of hope shone for the Yobins in the year 2000 when the state government forwarded its recommendation list for APST to the Government of India that included the Yobins. As a follow up, the state government provided ethnographic information on Yobins to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs vide memo no. SC/ST (IN-EX) 99 dated November 20, 2006. However, it has been almost 4 years since then and nothing has come out of it.

“In January 2008 political representatives of Changlang district, Komlung Mossang and Setong Sena, submitted a memorandum in favour of granting ST status to Yobins to the Prime Minister during his visit at Itanagar,” informs Phusa but rued that nothing positive has transcended ever since.

It is important that state government pushes for restoration of APST status to the Yobins in the wake of glaring realities in absence of ST status. The younger generations of this tribe are suffering in particular and the whole community is lagging behind as they are being deprived of many centrally sponsored schemes under various ministries of the Center.


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