Demand to include Gavdas, Kunbis in OBC list
The Times of India News Service
PANAJI: Since Gavdas and Kunbis are identified as original tribes from Goa, they should be included in the state list for Other Backward Classes (OBC) by amending the notification of 1987, irrespective of their religion they practice, says a resolution passed by the tribe people who assembled in Margao on Sunday.
The meeting was chaired by its chairman Ideological Group Federation, Shirodkar.
The meeting felt the state government should not divide these tribes on the basis of religion which they were forced to practise by way of conversion and reconversion. The members demanded that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar write to Prime Minister Vajpayee requesting the union government to release an Ordinance and include Gavdas, Kunbis, Dhangars and Velips in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order of 1950 as scheduled tribes of Goa.
Meanwhile, in a memorandum addressed to the Chairman of Goa State Commission for Backward Classes, the signatories have demanded that they would object to the state government's decision to include Christian Gavdas and Kunbis as other backward classes people purely on the basis of their religion since such a decision would divide these communities. It is all one tribe of Kunbis in Goa, they said. The memorandum was signed by ex-MLA Anton Gaonkar, president of Gavda, Kunbi, Dhangar Federation Antonio Francisco Fernandes, Sarpancha of Davorlim panchayat John Raikar and more than 25 prominent workers of the two communities.
``There is nothing like Hindu Gavdas and Christian Gavdas in Goa'', they said and added, these communities were not divided on the basis of religion. The memorandum said, the Commission had no jurisdiction to advise the state government on inclusion of these communities as Christian Gavdas and Hindu Gavdas separately.
The criteria of religion for identifying backward class could be one factor as per the Mandal judgement, it added. ``But, the government must realise that every citizen has a fundamental right to preach and practise a religion of his or her own choice'', the memorandum said.