HYDERABAD: The ongoing fight between aboriginal tribes (Adivasis) and Lambadas in North Telangana has taken a new turn, with Adivasis holding a huge public meeting in the state capital on Saturday, opposing Scheduled Tribe (ST) status of Lambadas.Adivasis, who have been organising various forms of protests alleging that the Lambadas are taking away their benefits in education and employment sectors by enjoying ST reservations, vowed to continue their fight till the state government removes ST status of Lambadas. They also demanded that the government provide special reservations for Adivasis by categorising STs in the state.
Adivasis from agency areas in North Telangana led by Adivasi leader Komaram Bheem’s grandson Sone Rao took part in a public meeting, Thudum Debba, at Saroornagar stadium here. During the meeting, Sone Rao vowed to continue their fight till the state government removes ‘ST’ status of Lambadas.
A large number of Adivasis attended the meeting, which was aimed at showing off their strength. The impact of the meeting was so visible that vehicular traffic in LB Nagar, Saroornagar and Dilsukh Nagar areas, which lead to Saroornagar stadium, in Hyderabad, was held up for several hours.
Former Union minister and BJP MP from Mandla constituency of Madhya Pradesh, Faggan Singh Kulaste, who attended the meeting as a chief guest, asked the state government to take steps to safeguard the rights of Adivasis in enjoying ST reservations in education and employment. “All the demands put forward by the Adivasis are reasonable and just. The TS government should take steps to ensure that the rights of aboriginal tribes are protected,” he said.
During the meeting, TRS MLA Kova Laxmi, who represents Asifabad Assembly segment, had to face the ire of some participants in the meeting, when she tried to mention the measures taken by the state government for the welfare of the Adivasis. With participants jeering at her, the Asifabad legislator had to abruptly end her speech.
Banjara Lambadas are listed as BCs or OBCs in some states while they are listed as SC or ST in other states.
It is the contention of the Adivasis in Telangana that the Lambadas come from Maharashtra and settled in Telangana and are availing all the government benefits though they are not locals.
Gonds say Lambadas were included in the ST list only in 1976 in the erstwhile AP