K’taka Min leads state delegation demanding ST status for Kurubas, meets Union MoS

Congress leader HM Revanna and former MP K Virupakshappa among others, were part of the delegation that met Union MoS for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh.
Kuruba delegation
Kuruba delegation
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A delegation led by Karnataka Rural Development Minister K S Eshwarappa on Tuesday called on Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh and demanded that the Centre include Kuruba (shepherds) community in the scheduled tribe (ST) category. Kuruba community seer Kaginele Niranjananadapuri Swami, Congress leader H M Revanna and former MP K Virupakshappa among others, were part of the delegation.

The delegation made a representation to the Tribal Affairs Minister to consider the state's long-pending demand to include the Kuruba community in the ST group, according to the state government officials.

Kurubas are the third biggest community in the state. They subscribe to teachings of Kanakadasa who was a renowned composer of Carnatic music, poet, philosopher and saint. Notably, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also belongs to the community. Kaginele Kanaka Guru Peetha in Haveri district is a spiritual and cultural centre of the Kuruba community.

As reported earlier, Kurubas are estimated to form a little more than 9% of the state’s population and come under the backward classes category sharing 15% reservation with 104 other castes. 

From pre-Independence till 1977, the community enjoyed the ST status. In 1977, Justice L G Havanur, who headed the backward class commission, removed the ST tag, moving the Kurubas to the ‘most backward classes’ category, and brought in an area restriction stating that those living in Bidar, Yadgir, Kalaburagi and Madikeri with Kuruba synonyms can continue to avail the ST benefits.

In the early 80s with Siddaramaiah making his debut in the legislative assembly, the Kurubas came into prominence once again. During the Janata Party government, then Social Welfare Minister V L Patil, a Kuruba himself, issued an order stating those who had already obtained the ST status in the community can continue to enjoy the benefits, irrespective of the area restrictions stipulated in the Havanur Commission. But this was struck down by the court. Since then, the demand for ST tag has been alive.

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