Oram assures inclusion of 5 tribes of Arunachal in ST list

This kind of news is like fresh air for our society. We have been pressed down from getting up as a tribe. When we struggle in the core of our identity as an arunachalee, it is almost impossible to dream of bigger visions. Now I look forward for the final day when our tribe appears in the Central’s list of ST. (AP Times, 7 June 2018)

Few days later I read another news piece where MOS Kiren Rejiju asked Ninong Ering to directly talk with the State Government where the Yobin’s case has been forwarded. There seems to be a gap. Source: Arunachal News. 

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Oram assures inclusion of 5 tribes of Arunachal in ST list

NEW DELHI, Jun 6: Member of Parliament Ninong Ering said he has received assurance from Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram that the Yobin, Nocte, Tutsa, Tangsa and Wancho tribes will be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) of Arunachal Pradesh “in a time-bound manner.”

Ering on Tuesday met the tribal affairs minister here, and requested him for early inclusion of these tribes in the list.

“Non-inclusion has deprived them from availing various government facilities and jobs,” he told the union minister.

The parliamentarian from the state has been raising the issue since 2016 by introducing a private members’ bill for inclusion of these tribes in the Arunachal Pradesh ST list.

Recently, Ering communicated with the union home ministry’s registrar general and census commissioner, requesting for inclusion of these tribes in the state’s ST list.

“The registrar general was of the opinion that the ministry of tribal affairs, being the nodal ministry in matters pertaining to STs, can take a final decision regarding this issue,” Ering said.

Yobins and their tryst with APST

The following article at the AP Times Readers’ Forum (30 May 2017) is in response to the AAPSU’s discussion (28 May) of “ST Status of the Yobins/Lisus” in the context of Refugees and Settlers.

The Government of AP unjustly committed injustice against the Yobins once again.

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Dear Editor,

We want to ask everybody never again to discuss Indigenous Yobin issue in the category of Refugees or Settlers. It is a pain to read Yobin tagged in such situation time and again. Please get these facts straights:

1. Did you know that Yobin people have never migrated into India? Yobins have been aborigines of Dawodi (Vijoynagar) area long before the area was annexed into NEFA? And are you aware that the international boundary around Vijoynagar was finalized with Burma only in 1972? And Yobin tribe played a crucial role then which has been recorded.

2. Did you know that it was only on May 7th 1961, Lisu Sidi Village was re-named as Gandhigram and the flag of India was unfurled for the first time in Gandhigram?

3. Are you aware that YOBIN Scheduled Tribe is fully covered under Presidential Order 1956, -“Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956”. Sc III, Part-II, 2. And such has been the interpretation by the Law Ministry, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Office of the Registrar Genral of India, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

4. You may not be aware that while there are 106 tribes in AP, only 16 names are in the Notified ST List of Arunachal Pradesh! But the State Legislature rightfully extends ST benefits to all the indigenous tribes of the State. Yobin is gazetted as a Scheduled Tribe.

There are a lot more evidences available. You could ask all the questions you want at yobinsata@rediffmail.com.

Of course the Yobin ST Notification was practically withdrawn since March 2017. And this was done for there was a Procedural Error. But in the same letter that came from MTA / Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the Ministry clearly wrote that ” But the People is Scheduled Tribe”. And the Ministry has asked Govt of Arunachal to send a Comprehensive ST List of AP. And this work is under process. Ref: MTA LETTER NO 16014/9/2015-C & LM-1. Dated 08/03/2016. New Delhi.

So, Yobin is never ever demanding APST! We already are. We are just claiming what is already ours constitutionally. And the matter is under procedural correction. That is all.

Once again, let us tell you, if you are questioning Yobin’s Tribal Arunachal Identity, you are either exhibiting ignorance or going against the Presidential Order. It is true that Yobin Tribe has been sidelined, marginalized, maligned, and misrepresented for over 40 years now! The tribe is heavily afflicted for reasons not told to the tribe, yet the tribe is not destroyed. The community is very much alive and well. God has not forsaken the community.

So, all good hearted fellow Arunachalees are requested to champion Yobin’s genuine cause. We shall overcome someday!

Yours,

Aphu A Ngwazah.

Gandhigram

AYSU Delegation to Itanagar

Photo of AYSU Delegation (Left to Right): Shokoye, Yofuna, Nomasay, Salina, Dilihey, Josawu, Sosadi, Ngwazosa, Lewadi and Gujusa

The All Yobin Students Union (AYSU) made a purposeful visit to Itanagar from 2 – 11 June 2017. The team met several key officers and leaders –Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, AAPSU President, Education Minister, BJP State President, BJP State Gen Secy, AITF General Secy and our Local Minister. The discussion with the Education Minister was published at AP Times Readers Forum.

A detailed deliberation with the Chief Minister on 8th June took place. The team forwarded for news release to the newspapers (AP Times & Eastern Sentinel) twice but did not appear. Below is the summary of the meeting with Chief Minister:

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The Yobin have a lot of unresolved issues left unattended by the government during the last four decades. With these areas that require immediate action, the executive members of the All Yobin Students Union (AYSU) called on the Chief Minister, Pema Khandu at his chamber on 8th June. The AYSU was accompanied by the local MLA cum Minister of WRD Shri Kamlung Mossang. A memorandum was submitted for the following grievances.

1. First, for restoration of the Scheduled Tribe status to the Yobins. The GoAP notified Yobin as ST by the Extra Ordinary Gazette (no. 82, vol xxii dated: 30 March 2015) but the Article 342 has been misapplied in the case of Yobins. Objection was to the misapplication of the law, NOT to the tribe. Hence, that order was cancelled on 25 January 2017 but the government did not provide any option to relief our problem. The CM assured to take up with the Central Government to make this reality at the earliest as he had done earlier. He convened a meeting on Yobin ST issue on 21 April and the matter taken to the Govt of India.

2. Second, for the Miao-Vijoynagar Road to be completed soon. Since the road completed in 1975, it was not maintained, the road therefore became almost untraceable. A PMGSY scheme provided fund with the laying of foundation stone by the then Union Rural Minister Jairam Ramesh in 2011. Unfortunately, the tender was given to contractors, instead of the demand of the public to be given to BRO. As feared, the work never progressed till today. We still have to walk four days on foot. Nothing changed during the last 6 years. The CM sympathized with our struggles in road communication. He promised a special meeting will be called on the 22 June to take this case forward.

3. Third, for the Settlers of Vijoynagar to be restricted to the land the government has allotted. The Assam Rifles Ex-Service Settlers were brought in to Vijoynagar in the 1960s. Specific plots of land were provided for them both for residence and agricultural purposes on a lease of 30 years, with tax to be paid to government. The first renewal was done in 1990 and the next due in 2020. But now the settlers are coming out of their settlement areas and encroaching our land. These illegal activities were reported to the local administration, Circle Officers. No decisions and action has been taken to safeguard the indigenous people. This problem was reported to the CM and requested that action to be taken so that the Settlers would confine and be satisfied with the land the government allotted them and not beyond and disturb the local harmony. The CM would do a study and call on a decision.

We grateful to the HCM for his kindness and willingness to look into the needs people of this border area. We look forward to see the promises fulfilled and provide us relief from current difficulties.

AAPSU team meets CS, takes up refugee issue

I am on several occasions surprised at the lack of understanding of the AAPSU leadership on the Lisu/Yobin. See the news item below (AP Times, August 12, 2014)

· Branded Lisu and Yobin tribes separate tribes.

· Still considers Yobin not as an indigenous tribe. If not, tell which tribe is.

· They have no idea that the Govt has already prepared a Family Dossier (Census of people) to avail ST certificate.

Another surprise: Why are the AAPSU silent on the Ex-Service Settlers in Vijoynagar area?

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AAPSU team meets CS, takes up refugee issue

ITANAGAR, Aug 12: Members of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) led by its vice president-cum-chairman Refugee Affairs Likha Takar and member secretary Refugee Affairs Arjun Dodum called on state Chief Secretary and Secretary Political to discuss its earlier representation submitted to the government regarding the Tibetan Refugee issue, here today.

Stating that many Tibetan and Bhutanese nationals are availing licenses and certificates by showing fake documents which are otherwise meant for the local people only and misguide the government, Likha Takar appealed the government officials to verify the persons before issuing such documents since it adversely impacts the rights of the indigenous people. Expressing concern over the state government’s decision to issue ST certificates to Lisu and Yobin tribes, he said that it could pose a threat to the indigenous tribes of the state especially, in Changlang district because both the said tribes are settled at Miao and Vijoynagar near the Myanmar border are now starting to illegally migrate into the state after hearing the government’s decision.

While urging the state government to initiate strict measures to check such alleged illegal migrants by alerting the Assam Rifle at various check posts, he further requested the government to identify and prepare a census of Lisu and Yobin tribes who have been settled in state since many years, to avoid future problems.

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The following were responses to this press release:

1. Readers’ Forum (Date: 14 August 2015)

Do not zero in on one community

Dear Editor,

I’d like to make a comment on your news “AAPSU team meets CS, takes up refugee issue” that concerns the Yobin (Date: 12 August 2015).

I think the principle that AAPSU leadership is advocating is very reasonable and should be addressed: Illegal migrants must be checked. Tribes that have their population beyond Indian boundary need to come under this purview. Perhaps it might bring relief that the Govt has prepared a Family Dossier of Yobin to provide community certificates.

Having said that I have a couple of objections with this news item.

First, AAPSU alleged we have “now starting to illegally migrate into the state”. Please substantiate facts and if needed constitute an inspection team if we have people in addition to the names in the Family Dossiers. Second, we are called “settled”. I question who settled us? The government “found” us on 7th May 1961 and the Indo-Burma boundary was not demarcated until then. Third, the team said “It could pose a threat to the indigenous tribes of the state especially, in Changlang district”. Who is the indigenous tribe in Vijoynagar area?

Furthermore, as many know, the voice AAPSU cried concerns a small tribe of below 4,000 people. Our people hardly increase 1000 people per decade. The census data gives those details.

I look forward to a day when leaderships in Arunachal Pradesh take up wider issues and implement consistently, instead of zeroing in a particular community.

Yours,

Liahey

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2. AP Times (16 August 2015)

Misplaced facts

Dear Editor,

This is regarding the news article which appeared on Aug. 12th under the caption ” AAPSU team meet CS, takes up refugee issue”.

First of all, I appreciate the AAPSU team for taking up the refugee issue for the betterment of the future in our state. For this spirit must not end at any cost.

But I felt strong resentment at the immature allegation meted out to one particular tribe: the Yobins.

We are not that foolish to allow anyone to cross into our area! We have a small land to live in! And I wonder if “Yobin” is the only tribe residing in the border areas.

It hurts a lot when the leaders who are our brothers and sisters of the state are indiscriminately hurling resentful things against a particular tribe. It is not wise to discriminate against a particular tribe without having full knowledge of the real facts.

The AAPSU team have narrow knowledge of the matters as they do not seem to know who is a settler and who the indigenous tribe of Vijoynagar circle are.

The team do not seem the know the difference between Yobin and Lisu.

And the team do not seem to know that we possess family dossier.

Yours,

Barak Ngwazah

Shillong

ST status for Yobin is still distant dream

Letter to the AP Times Editor.

Dear Editor,

The news titled “Union Tribal Affairs Minister assures CM on nomenclature issue” published on 12 September is a strategic step from the Chief Minister. He seems to realize that unless he gets involved into this matter the issue of Scheduled Tribes (ST) from AP will not expedite.

But what alarmed me was the mention of only the change of nomenclature of few tribes and “Any Naga Tribes”. Where does the demand of Yobin for ST stand? Is it that the newspaper failed to report or the Government plans to sideline us again?

The report also confirmed that the State’s recommendation has not been consistent because it said “… He [Minister for Tribal Affairs] requested the State Government to immediately send official recommendations for the same through the State Secretariat, which he said is the normal procedure…”

Recently, union minister Ninong Ering has been telling about this gap to us and to our local MLA. But our MLA and the State had been saying “No further recommendation is needed; your matter is with centre.” Now the Minister for Tribal Affairs had personally informed our Chief Minister. I hope the matter will be processed through proper channel with complete list of ST from Arunachal.

We always request for immediate declaration of Yobin as ST because it is a great need. All the other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh have been receiving facilities as ST, but for Yobin such facilities are far away.

Yours,

Liahey Ngwazah

Source: AP Times Readers’ Forum (16 September 2013), TOI (14 September 2013).

Developments on ST Till October 2013

Key highlights:

  • At Itanagar: Last two months have been hectic follow at the State and Center level. Five of our representations from the All Yobin Student Union (AYSU) spent 3 weeks in Itanagar. They did much follow. They have met Ministers, Chief Minister, Department of Social Welfare, the Chief Secretary, Student Unions and leading NGOs of the state. In the process, key documents were collected which further strengthened our demand for the Scheduled Tribe status.
  • At New Delhi: Many leaders gave support. MP, Ninong Ering, did several follow up with the Minister for Tribal Affairs, the Prime Minister and other top leaders of the country. Unfortunately our case did not move for one simple reason: State’s recommendation have not arrived. They are waiting for that. And our hope for getting our case on Monsoon Session punctured.
  • ST Demand Committee: Meeting held on 28 Sep. at Miao Church premises and a decision to form a committee was made. Eight members constituted with representations from Yobin Tribe Welfare Committee (YTWC), AYSU, Panchayat and church. Initial meetings and discussions have just begun.
  • Philip’s visit: Philip on his personal business could visit the Department of Social Justice, Empowerment and Tribal Affairs (SJETA). Our matter is still lying within this department. They are yet to move our file to the Union Ministry for Tribal Affairs. Much work and follow up is needed to make sure our case does not stay with a particular officer too long. (See chart: By Philip & Nio).

2013 Sep 5 - ST chart

Potential action areas:

  • Consistent follow up with the SJETA and GoAP.
  • Continuing use of media to cry our needs and sufferings.
  • Rallies and delegation of the committee in the state and country.

Position of ST Demand

The picture is now becoming clearer about our ST demand. Thanks to the AYSU leadership and supporters who made that possible. The most visible among all is: no one is objecting us as people did in the past because of ignorance. But what are the problems?

  • At State Level: The GoAP is not worried for us. Therefore our case is making rounds between State Cabinet, Secretary (Political) and Secretary (Social Welfare). Thereby, the Chief Secretary does not get to forward our case to the GOI recently. Our local MLA, who has now so much power, has been silent for our ST.
  • At Central Level: The GOI does not know the status of our case because the GoAP does not follow up. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been asking for the recommendation from the GoAP, not know it was done in 2000. And even our name was included in the Lok Sabha debate in 2002. Neither the present minister knew an ethnographic report has been submitted in 2006. Our MP does not push our case either. He just tells all kinds of excuses and does not put up our case as a leader.
  • Our people: The problem with our people is we believe people too much. We make a request and wait for a response, even if meant years. It seems “follow up” is not part of our regular vocabulary or perhaps we don’t know how to move with follow up.

So what we need:

  • Someone who can bridge us between the GoAP and GOI effectively. People who have an ability, the heart and passion to bring justice for us.
  • Constant follow up with both at the center and state. If needed, a strong steering committee must be constituted from our tribe, who will have complete authority and facility to make it happen.
  • We must believe ourselves and openly challenge every injustice that comes our way. It can be in the form of rally, representations, news release or whatever means is effective.

Aspirations Not Protected

This letter critics the policy of the Central Government for flooding outsiders in Changlang, Tirap and Longding Districts, thereby disturbing the local population. Interesting review that the author even recognizes the injustice the Yobins are facing as a result of this policy. I’ll say the policy of the State Government too contributes to this problem, especially when it comes to the Yobin. The State has lots of power to address our issues – like taking up ST demand, speeding MV Road constructions, providing student needs — but are they interested? Read on – Liahey.

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Source: By K. Mossang (Arunachal Front).

Sir, The former Arunachal Pradesh governor, JJ Singh, had clearly stated in some local dailies that peace in the eastern districts of the state is dependent on the Indo–Naga peace talks. It is unfortunate that the people have to continually suffer from the current turmoil in the eastern districts of the state – Tirap, Changlang and Longding – until peace agreement is reached between the two parties. However, there seems no apparent gain for the local people even if the final solution is found. People are carrying another man’s burden in vain. Changlang in particular has been the most affected by the biased action of the Centre and the state. The central government has committed gross negligence with blatant disregard for the interest of the natives by flooding the district with Bangladeshi and Tibetan refugees apart from settling Nepalese ex-servicemen in Vijaynagar area instead of recognizing the local Lisu people as a scheduled tribe under the constitution. All these indicate mistrust on part of the central government of the people living in the area given its nearness to the international border with China and Myanmar. Now, more than 50 percent of the population of Changlang constitutes migrant refugees – Bangladeshi Chakmas, Hajongs, Tibetans and Nepalese. The Centre has totally failed to protect the aspirations of locals guaranteed by the Constitution. People have always shown their solidarity with the people of the district on the issue but the state government has not been sincere enough. The people have been left alone in this fight. At this hour of need the people of the districts require support from the fellow citizens of state. How can the government expect people to confront the anti-social elements when the state has all machinery at their disposal? The role of social media that could have immensely contributed in creating an environment of self awareness amongst the mass has been limited by poor telecommunication, road connectivity and lack of electricity. The district headquarters is still at the mercy of the lone BSNL network which mostly remains out of order. Yours etc, K Mossang, Itanagar

Yobin Sidelined Time And Again

Published: Yobin Sidelined Time And Again: An Open-Letter to Honorable Prime Minister of India by Avia Ngwazah (10 August 2013).

Dear Sir, we the YOBIN COMMUNITY is utterly amazed over these things:

We have always believed that we are a Tribe and we live in a land called Arunachal Pradesh. However we are still denied of Arunachal Tribal identity till today!

The YOBIN TRIBE of Vijoynagar was discovered on 7th May 1961 when the tricolour was unfurled for the first time in “Sidi”/ Gandhigram, and the land of the Yobin around Vijoynagar became ‘technically’ Indian when boundary pillars were erected between 1972-1974! But the ‘local’ people, the Yobin Tribe has not been entered in the “Sixth Schedule” after all these 57 long years! 57 Years because NEFA was declared an ST state in the year 1956! However, the Yobins who lived in Margherita, Ledo, Wagon, Kharangkhong, Kharsang area had been registered since as early as 1917 and 1981!

The “YOBIN” is always gazetted by the Gazetteer of India as an “Individual Scheduled Tribe” of Arunachal. We are always Censused and returned as a Scheduled Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. But when we apply for ST certificate, as needed, we are denied till this very day!

The Presidential Order of 1956, and in “THE SCHEDULED CASTES AND SCHEDULED TRIBES ORDERS (AMENDMENT) ACT 1956”, declares that “All Tribes in North-East Frontier Agency….”… Scheduled Tribes! BUT the YOBIN TRIBE of NEFA/ARUNACHAL is still denied of ST Certificates and facilities.

While, ALL THE OTHER native tribes of Arunachal are enjoying ST facilities on their own Tribe’s name OR under “any Naga” OR as a sub-tribe, ONLY the YOBIN TRIBE is left without any ST facilities. Denied of ST certificates when applied for.

In the year 1975 general election, the YOBIN COMMUNITY voted for our Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Then what happened, our electoral rolls were deleted and we remained just like “refugees” in our own land from 1979 to 1994!

Till the early 1970s, our students enjoyed educational facilities just like our fellow tribes, but then from the late 70s till date, ALL the ST facilities are withheld from the YOBIN COMMUNITY.

Now, we are even more amazed that the “YOBIN” does not find a place along with other tribes to be amended at the on-going Lok Sabha Session. Are the YOBIN going to be bypassed again?

The voices for the support of the YOBIN’s cause has been growing. Our immediate fellow tribes support us. All the leading bodies of the State openly champion our cause. The media has done a lot for us. Now the support for the YOBIN pours in from Meghalaya, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and so on.

We are watching how our “People First” government serves its needy citizens at least now! Can we see some good-hearted souls in today’s government? Please Do something for the YOBINs now! This is our plea to you.

Comments on Ering’s Visit to Vijoynagar and More

Perhaps Ninong Ering is one of the very few Members of Parliament who ever visited Vijoynagar. See news: Ering visits Vijoynagar, assures to take up Yobin ST issue (AP Times, 6 March 2011).

He came to Vijoynagar on 3 March 2011. “Responding to the public demand for Schedule Tribe status to Yobin, Ering assured that the matter would be forwarded to the Parliament”. Did he do that? No, nothing till July 2013, this is exactly two years and four months after he made a public promise.

In response to the news of his visit, I wrote at the AP Times Readers’ Forum (9 March 2011), “… First of all I am very glad that MP of our constituency made effort to visit us. Along with that he has announced development programs as well. But what frustrates me is his response that he’ll take the matter to the Parliament. This kind of promise is nothing new to us. Instead he should have done something prior to his visit…”

What’s funny is that till July 2013, he was not even prepared to present our case in the Lok Sabha. When our delegates asked him, he blamed the State Government for not forwarding our case. If he knew that he could have followed up much ahead of time. Two years is lots of time.

While the State Government proclaimed our case is only at the hands of the Central Government and does not need another forward. If that were true, why would they forward afresh the five tribes under “Any Naga Tribes” (TOI report, 3 June 2013)?

Another flip: The Secretary (Political) and Director (Social Justice) clearly mentioned our case has been circulating between them (the administration) and the State Government. Our matter does not reach the Central Government, which is confirmed by the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Mr Kishore Deo.

That made our scenario ridiculous and the authorities playing childish games. To test it for yourself, ask this question to the Chief Minister, our MLA/Minister, or our MP: What is the status of our Scheduled Tribe demand? As their classic answers, you will hear amazing conflicting answers. At the end you will come away wondering “what were they doing?”