NEW DELHI, May 21 � In what could land the ruling Congress Government in a tight spot, the Centre has confirmed that the proposal to accord Schedule Tribe (ST) status to Koch Rajbongshi community has been rejected by the Registrar General of India (RGI).
The proposal has been already rejected by the RGI, as the name of the community already exists in the OBC list, said Minister for Tribal Affairs, Kishore Chandra Deo, while replying to a discussion on the Constitution Amendment (Schedule Tribe) Order Bill, 2012 in the Rajya Sabha.
The Minister, however, doled out some ray of hope stating that if any fresh inputs come from the State Government, then those may be referred to the RGI.
About the status of the proposal to include Ahom, Moran, Matak and tea tribes in the list of ST, the Minister replied that the RGI has sought some clarification from the Centre, which have been forwarded to the State Government.
The matter has been referred to Government of Assam for clarification. Once the State Government sends the clarification, it would be forwarded to the RGI, he said.
Tarun Gogoi Government is likely to come under fresh pressure of the politically-influential Koch-Rajbongshi community to press the Centre to relent. The State Government had last year revealed that the proposal was rejected by RGI way back in 2003 on the ground that the community had lost its tribal characteristics after it embraced Hinduism.
�The RGI never disagreed with the tribal origin of the community, but has opined that the community has long been converted into Hinduism and are at present like a caste of Hindus. Since, the Koch-Rajbongshi has adopted Hindu gotra, any existence of their original tribal clans could be assumed to be superficial, although no mention of them has been made in the State Government�s comment,� Assam Assembly was informed.