BENGALURU: Demanding inclusion of Kurubas under the Scheduled Tribes category, members of the community congregated at the Palace Grounds here on Sunday in a massive show of strength to exert pressure on the state and central governments in this regard.
As part of this, the community members are also planning to take out a mega rally in February next year if they are not granted the ST tag. Kurubas are classified as ‘Gonds’ in Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Bidar where they have the ST status. They are also classified as STs in Kogadu as Jenu Kuruba and Kadu Kuruba and community members have been urging the state government to grant that classification in other parts of the state as well.
An agitation for ST status turned violent in Bagalkot and nine persons were arrested in 2016-17. The community also staged a massive show of strength in 2016-17, too. The Kurubas are classified as backwards. As per the statistics, they represent 8.65 per cent of the state population, including Gond Kurubas.
On Sunday, Jagadguru Niranjana Puri pontiff of Kanaka Gurupeetha, Minister K S Eshwarappa, JDLP deputy leader in Assembly Bandeppa Kashempur, MLC A H Vishwanath, MLCs MTB Nagaraj and R Shankar, former minister H M Revanna and elected members of local bodies urged for unity in the community.
Considering the lead taken by Eshwarappa, the BJP is trying to woo the Kurubas who have largely supported the Congress in Karnataka. The only notable absentee during the Sunday meeting was Congress leader Siddaramaiah who had only sent his good wishes supporting them.
If Kurubas are included in the ST list, it will unseat Valmikis who are presently the most powerful community in the category. Kurubas are present in almost all parts of the state and the tag will alter several political equations.
A committee has been constituted with Eshwarappa and former ministers Bandeppa Kashempur, H M Revanna and AH Vishwanath to take this matter forward. Revanna said, “Kurubas were given tribal status way back in 1936. In Karnataka, some of the shepherd communities in Kalaburagi and Kodagu are still given ST status. In many states of the country, they have been given ST status. Kurubas are among the oldest settlers in the country.’’
Uppara community too seeks ST tag
Davangere: Purushothamananda Puri Swamy of Bhageeratha Gurupeet has met Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa and requested him to take up the cause of the Uppara community for inclusion into the Scheduled Tribes category. The swamy, along with other community leaders, met Eshwarappa at his residence in Bengaluru on Saturday. He said the community should be granted the ST tag due to its “tribal nature of worship and marriage rituals” among others.