Lucknow: Caste certificates are allegedly being denied to tribals in Uttar Pradesh because they don’t ‘look’ tribal, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has observed.
The state government too, has accepted the trend of large number of cases emerging from Mau district in eastern UP. Anusuiya Uikey, vice-chairperson of the commission, held a meeting with chief secretary Anup Chandra Pandey and senior officials of the UP government to discuss the issue on Thursday.
“Officials are denying certificates because they either don’t look like tribals, or their work isn’t tribal or their language isn’t. What do they expect? They want these people to look like tribals living in Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” Anusuiya aid
The commission has also raised the flag over the implementation of the Forest Rights Act. Data available with the state government reveals that under individual forest rights, 92,520 applications were received for resettlement. Out of these, certificates were given only to 17,791 while 74,682 applications were rejected.
Commission’s chairperson Nand Kumar Sai has also alleged that tribal applicants have been refused despite all records being in order. “In fact, while fake certificates are being issued to non-tribals, the local administration is cancelling certificates issued to genuine candidates. We have asked the state government to launch a full investigation into the matter,” he said.
The commission has also demanded to set up a separate scheduled tribes commission, and has further claimed that the actual number of tribals in the state is much higher than what assessed as per the official records. As per the 2011 census the population of tribals in the state was around 11.34 lakhs whereas the Commission claims the actual and current figures could be close to 1 crore.
State government officials, however, believe that this figure could be around 40-50 lakh but accept that the current population is highly under-reported.