Two top Central Government organisations have given contradictory replies to an RTI query on the status of the Konda Reddy community in Odisha.
And it was an RTI application filed by rights activist and senior counsel Radhakanta Tripathy, regarding the Odisha Government’s stance on whether to include the state’s Konda community in the list of Scheduled Tribes, that elicited the answers.
Responding to the RTI filed on September 5, the Registrar General of India had said,”At present, no proposal for the inclusion of the Konda Reddy community in Odisha is pending in this office. For the rest of the RTI requests, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal ministry and accordingly your application is being forwarded.”
Curiously, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in its reply said, “the case is pending with the Registrar General of India for inclusion of the said community in the list of the Scheduled Tribes in Odisha.”
Last year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had, on a petition filed by Tripathy, directed the Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Odisha Chief Secretary to consider the possibility of according ST status to the Konda Reddy community.
The petitioner had contended that the people belonging to Konda community in Odisha bore identical traits as their fellow community members living in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh where they had been conferred with the ST status.
Radhakanta raised another query, whether a particular caste or a tribe can be included in the SC/ST list of one state and the very same caste/tribe can be excluded from the SC/ST list in another state, especially a neighbouring one.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs replied, “Where a person migrates from one state to another, he can claim to belong to a Scheduled Tribe only in relation to the state to which he originally belonged to and not in respect of the state to which he has migrated.”