TIRUCHY: Over 500 tribals living in Gandhi Nagar area of Nagamangalam in Srirangam Taluk are struggling for years to get community certificates and their children are unable to get access to education and quota benefits meant for tribals as they don't have the certificate.
According to sources, the villagers belonged to Hindu Adhiyan community whose forefathers were fortune-tellers who went from house to house with an ox. The tribals are believed to be from Tiruvannamalai district and their origin is recorded by an anthropological study in 2001.
One of the villagers, O Kannan (49), said, "Some people belonging to my generation got their community certificates in 2001 following the study. They were then told by officials that based on these certificates their children could easily get a community certificate. However, officials have turned down our requests now saying that they can't take this study as a basis and issue certificates to our children."
Another resident, V Kaliyappan, said, "We are denied of the privileges entitled to us and our children, because of this confusion. Several students have ended their higher education dreams as they are unable to pay college fees. With a community certificate, several of our children would have been in jobs now."
M Muniyammal, a sanitary worker, said, "My daughter joined me in my work after finishing Class 5. Studying higher would be useless if she is not able to join college." The second phase of issuing community certificate happened in 2017. However, villagers alleged that not more than 15 students got their certificates then.
M Samayaputhan, said, "After 2017, officials were shuffled and we were told to get identity proof from the Tribal Research Centre in Ooty. How would we know the procedures to get all these done? Many of our people have tried to get certificates since 2017 and failed."
The villagers also alleged that several representations given to district collector in this regard have gone in vain.
When contacted, a Revenue Department official in Srirangam division said they were waiting for a report from the Tribal Research Centre to approve the community as tribals through a study. When asked whether any report to conduct an anthropological study was submitted by the Revenue Department to the Tribal Research Centre, an official said he did not receive any for the past one year.