Malkangiri: A bleak future stares tribal children here in the absence of caste certificates. Many students are unable to join high schools due to lack of these certificates.
Although they approached higher-ups on the issue, their pleas were ignored. Due to lack of land title deeds, they are not given caste certificates, and this is affecting the future of their children, the tribals said.
The tribals warned of adopting violent means and join the Maoists if this continues. Expressing anger, the tribals held the officials concerned responsible for the educational backwardness of their children.
They threatened to join the ultras before the media. The incident happened in Doraguda village of Sindrimal panchayat in the Sadar block of Malkangiri district.
Sources said around 30 families of ‘Koya’, ‘Bhumia’, ‘Halaba’ and ‘Paraja’ tribal communities are living in the village for 60 years. Their forefathers settled in the area during construction of the Balimela reservoir and Satiguda Dam.
Meanwhile, the government provided them with all basic facilities like electricity, Indira Awas houses, labour cards, voter ID cards, Aadhaar cards, ration and old age pension. A school and an anganwadi centre have also been built at the village.
Although they have been provided land deeds under the Forest Rights Act, they are unable to use them to seek caste certificates.
While the primary school in the village accommodates students till Class V, it is essential for students to have caste certificates to join high school.
Without caste certificates, the students are forced to join their parents in farming and stop studies. The tribals have been denied their rights as no revenue or tehsil official heeded their pleas.
Balia Bhumia, Sukaman Bhumia, Damu Pujari, Sukra Khila, Budra Bhumia, Madhev Halaba, Sanadhar Hantal, Samara Khila, Dhana Khila, Mangala Khila, Sukra Khila, Guru Hantal, Sanu Khila, Budu Khila, Padia Hantal, Padlam Bhumia, Ghana Khila are students who require caste certificates to continue studies.
“Although the government has given us basic facilities there is no hope of getting caste certificates and this is affecting our children. We fear they will join the ultras,” villagers Padlam Bhumia, Jamuna Khila and Sabita Hantal revealed before the media.
They said that nine students had to work as migrant workers as they could not get caste certificates in time last year. They demanded quick action regarding this before the beginning of this year’s academic session.
When contacted, Malkangiri Tehsildar Gunanidhi Nayak said he was unaware of the issue and would take steps to provide the certificates to tribal children.
“I assure you they will not be lose out on education due to lack of certificates,” he said.