Pune: 'Dhangar' community raises pitch for ST status
The 'Dhangar' community which constitutes 9 per cent of the total population of Maharashtra is currently included in the Vimukt Jati Nomadic Tribe (VJNT) category whereas the "Dhangad" community is classified under the ST category
The Dhangar (the shepherd) community today organised a gathering in Pune demanding the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The community threatened to intensify their agitation from August 5 if the state government failed to fulfill their demands by then.
The 'Dhangar' community which constitutes 9 per cent of the total population of Maharashtra is currently included in the Vimukt Jati Nomadic Tribe (VJNT) category whereas the "Dhangad" community is classified under the ST category.
Dhangar community leaders believe that the nomenclature "Dhangad" was a typographical error committed in the past, as a result of which the 'Dhangars' are wrongly classified in the VJNT group.
"Time to time, the community has raised the issue that replacing alphabet 'r' (Dhangar) with 'd' (Dhangad) has kept the community away from the ST list," said Gopichand Padalkar, one of the conveyors of the gathering, which was held in Karve Nagar area.
He alleged the Dhangars have been cheated by the prevuious and incumbent governments.
"We have come to the conclusion that the government does not want to grant us the ST status, and is creating hurdles in the form of documents," Padalkar alleged. He alleged that the Centre had failed to act on the ST status demand raised by his community.
"The typographical error occurred in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra. However, Bihar and Odisha rectified it. The former government had told us that the 'Dhangad' community existed in Maharashtra. I challenge the government to show me even a single person belonging to the 'Dhangad' community," Padalkar said.
He claimed that no records about the existence of the "Dhangad" community were found with Revenue or Caste Verification departments of the state government.
"The Tribal department misguided us claiming that there are 43000 people from 'Dhangad' community, as per 2011 Census," he said.
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