The Kuruman community is currently classified under OBC category, denying them affirmative action under ST categorisation.

DMK MP Kanimozhi writes to Centre to notify Kuruman as Scheduled Tribe
news Caste Friday, July 10, 2020 - 08:19

DMK MP Kanimozhi has written to Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda to include the Kuruman community to the Scheduled Tribes list of Tamil Nadu. The Kuruman community currently comes under the Other Backward Castes category, denying them reservation under Scheduled Tribe category, and many other affirmative actions.

In a letter, the Thoothukudi MP said, “According to the study submitted by The Director, Tribal Research Centre, Ooty, and The Director, Tribal Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu to The Director, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, reveals the basis of social structure, clan organization and life cycle rituals suggest that Kurumba, Kurumbar and Kurumans are similar and identical with Kurumans.”

Kanimozhi also said that various writers like Thurston, A Aiyappan, KS Singh reveal that Kurumba, Kurumbar and Kurumans mean the same to each other and they belong to the same community. The study also concluded that this community is eligible to be identified as Scheduled Tribes under the name Kurumans under Serial No 18 of the Scheduled Tribe list of Tamil Nadu.

“Hence I request you to take necessary steps to include Kurumba, Kurumbar and Kuruman to name Kurumans. This would ensure social justice while moving consolidates amendment as envisaged under Article 342 of the Constitution of India,” she said.

The Tamil Nadu government also requested the Centre to accept Kuruman as a Scheduled Tribe in April, activists say. “The case started in the late 1970s when MG Ramachandran was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He notified the Kuruman community as a Scheduled Tribe but the Madras High Court said only the central government has the right to notify the communities. Hence the fight began and it is still ongoing to include the Kuruman community to the Schedule Tribe list,” said P Shanmugam, state vice-president of Tamil Nadu Tribals Association.

“Currently, Tamil Nadu government notified the central government to accept Kuruman as Scheduled Tribe in April. Following that, Kanimozhi and many other leaders of Tamil Nadu have written to the central government seeking inclusion,” he said.

Not just Kuruman but many other communities like Nari Kuravars have long been denied their right to be identified as Scheduled Tribes. 

“The delay in the process has curbed the rights of many people of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. Currently, the process followed by the central government is long and exhausting. Many years pass by studying and getting justice for the community members. Hence, we want the government to set up a commission to look into the notification process instead of delaying the whole process,” said Shanmugam.

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