BARIPADA: Leader of Patidar movement in Gujarat Hardik Patel on Sunday said he will meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and raise the issue of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for Kudumi/Mohanta community.
Addressing a gathering of members of Kudumi/Mohanta community at Chaw field here, Patel vowed to fight for their rights. Like Gujjars and many other tribal communities in the country, Kudumi/Mohanta have been deprived of their legal status. Similar is the situation of the community in Jharkhand and West Bengal, he said.
Though West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has requested the Central Government to recommend ST status for Kudumi/Mohanta community, the Odisha Government is yet to take any steps in this regard, Patel said.
At least 25 lakh people of the community are residing in eight districts of Odisha. However, the State Government has done nothing for their upliftment despite repeated demands, he said. Odisha is home to people from unemployed, uneducated and backward sections of the society who have been deprived of their basic facilities.
“I will fight for these people and help them get their dues,” he said.
Patel said, “I will meet CM Naveen Patinaik on Monday and raise the issue before him.” “This is not my last visit to Baripada. I will continue to visit Odisha until the CM does not act on the matter. I have faith on Naveen who will provide justice to the community,” he said.
State president of Kudumi Sena, the body which organised the meeting, Jaymuni Mohanta said members of the community from Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Deogarh and Sambalpur have come together to raise the demand of ST status.
Despite several rulings of the Patna High Court in favour of according ST status to Kudumi/Mohanta, the community was delisted due to political conspiracy in 1956. Over the years, political parties have used the community as a vote bank without making any efforts to include them in the ST list, Mohanta alleged.
The State Government is neglecting the Kudumi/Mohanta community by ignoring its demand, said other leaders who addressed the meeting. Though Odisha Government in September, 2013 recommended to the Centre to include 36 communities in the ST/SC list, the Kudumi Mohanta community was ignored, they lamented.
Around 25,000 members of Kudumi/Mohanta community across Odisha and neighbouring West Bengal and Jharkhand attended the meeting.