Samal admits inclusion of `Kui` in tribal list was "mistake"

Admitting that inclusion of `Kui` in the list of tribals by the then NDA govt at the Centre was a "mistake", former BJP minister said dispute over fake caste certificate issue triggered violence in Kandhamal in 2008.

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 00:34 AM IST

Bhubaneswar: Admitting that inclusion of
`Kui` in the list of tribals by the then NDA government at the
Centre was a "mistake", former BJP minister Manmohan Samal
on Friday said dispute over fake caste certificate issue triggered
violence in Kandhamal in 2008.

During his cross examination before the SC Mohapatra
commission of inquiry probing the Kandhamal riot, Samal said
the term - Kui (a language and not a tribal sub-group) was
introduced in the list of tribals in Orissa through a
constitution amendment by the NDA government in 2002-03.

"When it was realised that the amendment may cause
difficulties, our party took steps to delete it," he said
during cross-examination by government pleader Bijay Patnaik.

Samal, who appeared before the commission for the
third day, however, said that BJP resolved about amendment of
Kui term and a resolution was passed and given to the chief
minister by a party delegation.

A copy of the resolution was also sent to the central
government. Many members of the BJP`s legislature party had
raised the issue in the Assembly, he said.

The former minister, who had held chief minister
Naveen Patnaik responsible for the Kandhamal riot, said that
taking advantage of speaking in Kui language, many non-tribals
obtained tribal certificates.

Tribals felt that non-tribals were taking away their
benefits by obtaining fake caste certificates. Therefore,
Samal said, tribals were angry with Pano scheduled caste
people who were converted to Christianity.

"It was a mistake of NDA government and we have tried
to correct it," he said, adding that BJP had not taken the
issue of inclusion of Kui in tribal list to the court of law.

Asked to clarify reasons for blaming the chief
minister, Samal said he had cautioned Patnaik several times
that tribals demands, including caste certificate issue and
land problems, need to be resolved soon.

"I had not given any written complaint to the chief
minister," Samal said replying a question by the government
pleader, adding that he had absolute faith on the chief
minister at that time.

However, Samal claimed that when he cautioned Patnaik
about Kandhamal`s volatile situation before riot, the then
chief secretary, director general of police and home secretary
were present at the CM`s chamber.

Though Samal had earlier alleged that conversion was
one of the causes behind thr riot, he failed to give material
evidence in support of his claim.

PTI