HYDERABAD: As tempers are running high in Agency areas, more particularly in the north Telangana belt of erstwhile Adilabad, Warangal and Khammam districts, over allegations of Lambadas, considered as banjaras, eating into the share of reservations in jobs and other sectors of aboriginal tribes, the aboriginal tribes say that their fight is against the government and not the Lambadas.
Lambadas, being educated and developed when compared to other aboriginal tribes like the Gonds of Adilabad or the Chenchus of Mahbubnagar, are taking away a good share of jobs from the ST reservation category, is what the other tribes allege. The problem, however, lies here: The other aboriginal tribes contend that Lambadas cannot be treated as STs as they migrated from neighbouring states where they don’t come under the ST category.
According to Siddam Vaman Rao, state president of Aboriginal Tribals Employees Welfare Association, a gazette was issued in 1976 where Lambadas were included under STs in the then Andhra Pradesh. “However, there is no sanctity to Act that was passed subsequently as the gazette was issued when emergency was in force,’’ Rao said.
In the census that was done after 1976, the population of Lambadas came to over 13 lakh which made the aboriginal tribes feel that the Lambadas from the neighbouring Maharashtra have started migrating to AP.
“This is not true and the sudden spurt of population of Lambadas, alleged by others, is because till 1971 census, we were considered BCs and were counted under the BC category,’’ Amar Singh Tilawat, former MP and national President of All India Banjara Seva Sangh told Express.
According to Tilawat, Lambadas are far beyond other STs in terms of education as they reside in plain areas unlike gonds, chenchus or koyas.
As lambadas started getting government jobs, more particularly of teachers and doctors, this became a cause of concern for some, and even politicians instigated the agitations, he says.
Vaman Rao, however, says that the Lambadas have not just taken away their jobs but also their political rights. “The fact that the court made it clear that some elected representatives (Lambadas) are ineligible as they don’t belong to STs shows that we are right,’’ he said.
Even as the differences were existing since long, the situation turned bitter when some persons damaged the idol of Shamki Mata, the deity of Lambadas.
“The government should come up with a special package for aboriginal tribes and also create supernumerary posts for them as they feel that they are not represented well in the government jobs,’’ the Lambada veteran leader said.
Central agency collects information on castes of govt employees
The increasing tension between Lambadas and other Schedule Tribes in the district has attracted the attention of Central Intelligence agency. Sources said recently a Central Intelligence team from Delhi visited the district and collected details about castes of government employees working in various departments. They also collected details of vacancies and appointments in various departments and whether or not all appointments were made as per norms.