Kolkata: Kurmi movement in Bengal to go beyond traditional belts | Azad Times

2 weeks ago 24
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Azad Times News Desk.

Kolkata: The Kurmi community’s agitation for the Scheduled Tribe status is set to go beyond its traditional stronghold pockets in the Junglemahal area scattered over the three tribal-dominated districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.

From Monday, the people from the community settled in Malda district of north Bengal will start a unique wall campaign in the district threatening to boycott the forthcoming polls for the three-tier panchayat system unless their demands are fulfilled.

The main tagline of the wall-campaign is — ‘First ST, Then Vote’ which signifies that people of the community will boycott the polls unless their long-standing demand for Scheduled Tribe status is fulfilled.

This campaign in the Malda district has surfaced at a time when the Kumri community people in the Junglemahal area are continuing with the ongoing campaign — ‘All Walls to Kurmi’ notifying that the walls of any property owned by the Kurmis will not be made available for graffiti during the forthcoming rural civic body polls.

According to Renuka Mahato, the leader of the ‘First ST, Then Vote’ campaign in Malda district, that this is the beginning of the movement in the district and in the coming days they will be leading a more aggressive movement unless their demands are fulfilled. The people of the community are planning to organise a rail blockade movement shortly.

The main grievance of the people of the Kurmi community is that the West Bengal Cultural Research Institute, a state government body that works for indigenous tribes, is yet to recognise the Kurmis as representatives of primitive tribes. They also allege that the reluctance of the institute or the state government to send a comprehensive report in the matter to the Union government is holding back the process of recognition of the Kurmi community under the Scheduled Tribe category.

On April 11, there was a bipartite meeting between the leaders of the community and the state government at the state secretariat of Nabanna. However, the meeting failed to evoke any positive result. On that day only, the Kurmi leaders had threatened to go ahead with their agitation.

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