SHIMLA: In Pachhad (reserved) assembly segment of Sirmaur district in Himachal Pradesh , where byelection would be held on October 21 along with Dharamshala assembly seat, giving tribal status to Hatti community is a big poll issue.
The people of Trans-Giri area of Sirmaur district have been demanding tribal status on the pattern of Jaunsar-Bawar area of Uttarakhand for the last 52 years, but their demand has not been fulfilled. Trans-Giri and Jaunsar-Bawar area were part of erstwhile Sirmaur princely state and both have unique similarity in all aspects.
Realising the significance of around 60,000 members of Hatti community in 30 panchayats of Pachhad, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Tuesday assured the people that their demand would be fulfilled soon. In each election, people are promised tribal status but this promise is never kept by political parties.
Addressing a public meeting at Rajgarh, he said every possible effort is being made to get scheduled tribe status to Hatti community in the area. He said that Union home minister Amit Shah was fully informed about the matter and has assured that public sentiments of the area would be respected.
Pradeep Singta from Bounch village of Trans-Giri and vice-president of Sirmaur Yuva Vikas Manch, which is spearheading the movement for tribal status to Hatti community, said the issue has been pending since 1967, when Jaunsar-Bawar area was granted tribal status after it was shifted to Uttar Pradesh in 1967. He said the total population of Hatti community of Sirmaur district spread across 133 panchayats is around 2.75 lakh. He said that state government and Centre have completed most of the formalities but still not granted them the scheduled tribe status.
Professor Ami Chand, who heads the Kendriya Hatti Samiti which launched the movement for scheduled tribe status, says that in 1979, National Commission for Scheduled Tribe headed by its then chairperson Bhola Paswan Shastri had recommended scheduled tribe status to Trans-Giri area, but issue remained pending with Centre. He said a committee of state assembly, known as Kanhaiya Lal Commmittee, had submitted a report in legislative assembly in 1994, recommending scheduled tribe status and that then MP Prem Kumar Dhumal had raised the issue in parliament in 1995. The parliament was informed that the matter was under consideration of Registrar General of India. He said that now final decision is pending with Registrar General of India.