Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Oct 18:
The Odisha High Court has directed the state government to complete its verification process with regard to according scheduled tribe status to ‘Boda’ community within six months.
While conducting hearing on a PIL on Friday on the caste/tribe status of the Boda community, a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A K Rath issued the direction.
Members of ‘Boda’ community, who reside in different parts of the state, are primarily tribals but have not been included under the scheduled tribe category by the government, thus depriving them of their rights.
Opposing such ‘discrimination’, Narayan Sardar, Kalicharan Dandsena, Chandra Nayak, Dandasi Mallick, Pitamber Patra and Upendra Nayak from the Ganjam district had filed a PIL in the High Court demanding inclusion of Boda community under the scheduled tribe category.
Secretary Union Home ministry, secretary Union SC & ST ministry, chief secretary Odisha, secretary Revenue and secretary SC &ST department were made parties in the case.
The petitioners have contended that the state government has recognized 63 communities as tribals but has excluded ‘Boda’ community. Bodas are similar to Bonda, Bonda Paraja, Bondo Paraja and Bodo tribal communities, the petitioners said and contended that basically they are a tribal community. They said, since they were scattered across different areas and because of erroneous listing in government records thy have been ascribed different names. Bodos have been accorded tribal status in Assam and West Bengal while Boda community has been excluded from such category in the state.
The state government in the course of the hearing stated that the concerned department has initiated the process to prepare a report after examining the caste/tribe status of ‘Boda’ community .