Yobins in search of Arunachalee identity

Two senior Arunachal ministers have spoken in favour of recognition of the indigenous Yobin tribe, living in Vijaynagar of Changlang district, giving them Arunachalee ST status at a seminar here yesterday.

Last Updated: Sep 02, 2010, 20:04 PM IST

Itanagar: Two senior Arunachal ministers
have spoken in favour of recognition of the indigenous Yobin
tribe, living in Vijaynagar of Changlang district, giving them
Arunachalee ST status at a seminar here yesterday.

In his keynote address, Finance Minister Setong Sena
advocated for recognition of Yobins as Arunachalee ST quoting
the presidential order of 1956 to justify that the Yobins are
not Burmese refugees, but Indian citizens and an indigenous
ethnic group of the state.

Citing historical records, Sena said they were given
APST status in 1979 but were deprived of its in 1980 for
reasons not yet known.

The 1994 notification clearly enlists them as Indians
and ethnic group of Arunachal, he said and urged the state
government to take steps to give them their due status.

All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union president Takam
Tatung and General Secretary Tujum Popyom said they are
confused about Yobin’s status and would comment after taking
consensus opinion of other indigenous communities.

Yobin Tribe Welfare Community (YTWC) president Phusa
Yobin and general secretary Liakum Yobin questioned the state
and central governments’ stand for refusing their right.

"We are free men in our own home land where we have
been living there since 19th century," rued Phusa.

Power and Tourism Minister Jarbom Gamlin assured to
support Yobin’s demand.

He differentiated Yobins from the Chakma and Hajong
refugees, who after being dislocated from their homes in East
Pakistan in 1964 and were settled in designated camps in the
state by the government of India.

The state government has constituted a committee under
his chairmanship to assess the status of such people including
Yobins and the committee report would be the basis for the
state government to decide on their status, he informed.

Anthropologist, Rajiv Gandhi University’s Arunachal
Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS) Sarit Chaudhury said the
issue of marginalized tribes was much wider and urged the
major tribes to shoulder greater responsibility to take the
issue towards the right direction.

One of the sources of subsistence of the Yobins, is
agriculture and the major crop cultivated by them is paddy.

PTI