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Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], October 20 (ANI): Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inclusion of Valmiki and Boya communities of the state in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list through a bill in the Parliament.

On the occasion of Maharishi Valmiki's birth anniversary, Naidu wrote a letter to the Prime Minister stressing the need for resolving a long-pending issue before the central government with regard to the demand of Valmikis and Boyas.

According to a TDP statement, the two communities living in plain areas of Andhra Pradesh have been suffering in poverty. These communities have traditionally earned their livelihood through hunting and gathering forest produce.

The TDP chief said that the Valmiki and Boya communities were not included in the ST list despite favourable recommendations by the Anantarama Commission and several other panels.

In 1964, the Government of Andhra Pradesh passed orders stating that the Valmiki/Boyas in Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra are one and the same. In 1968, the two communities were included in the ST list irrespective of regions.

"Unfortunately, the then government had on July 27, 1977 passed orders stating that only Valmikis living in the agency area come under the ST list. This unjust order by the government grossly ignored the earlier recommendations made by the various committees and led to differences among Valmikis in Western Ghats, Northeastern Andhra Pradesh and the Boyas inhabiting different parts of Andhra Pradesh. In 1991, the Government of India included Valmikis and sub-groups like Nayak, Nayaka, Beda, Bedar, etc., in the ST list," said Naidu.

The TDP chief said that the Valmikis and Boyas in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh traditionally had strong social ties and marital relations. However, while their counterparts in Karnataka have been included in the ST list, the status of Valmikis/Boyas in Andhra Pradesh is confusing. Against this backdrop, the previous government under Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had attempted to resolve the issue scientifically and academically and recommended the inclusion of Valmikis/Boyas in the ST list of the Indian Constitution.

Naidu told Prime Minister Modi that on December 1, 2017, the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet had passed a resolution recommending the Government of India to include Valmikis/Boyas in the ST list. It was followed by a detailed discussion in the AP Legislative Assembly and AP Legislative Council when both the houses unanimously passed resolutions to include Valmikis/Boyas in the ST list. The then TDP-led Government collated all these resolutions and sent them to the Government of India on December 15, 2017.

The TDP chief said that the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs requested more details that were duly sent on September 5, 2018 by the then Andhra Pradesh government. Unfortunately, the proposal is pending with the Centre. In 2016, the then government had constituted a team under Prof Satyapal to conduct a comprehensive study on the status of Valmikis/Boyas in Andhra Pradesh. After a year of detailed research, the team found that there has been a considerable delay in recognising Valmiki/Boyas as STs.

Naidu pointed out that the AP SC/ST Commission toured across different districts and concluded that there was a need to include Valmikis/Boyas in the ST list. In this regard, there was an immediate need to consider the recommendations made by various commissions to include Valmiki/Boyas in the ST list. In 1961, Roy Burman, Deputy Registrar General, Census Commission made a similar recommendation. In 1961-62, the AP Tribes Enquiry Commission noted that Valmiki/Boyas were an indigenous community and hence, should be recognised as the STs. (ANI)

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