Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
India Dalit Bahujan Adivasi

Kurmi community’s Rail Roko protest demanding ST status continues

Community also demands inclusion of their language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution; train services affected in Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal for second straight day

Sabrangindia 22 Sep 2022

KurmiImage courtesy: PTI


The Kurmi community’s protest demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status continued on Wednesday in West Bengal. The protest that is being led by five different groups from Jangal Mahal representing interests of the Kurmi community began on Tuesday with thousands of people holding demonstrations in Purulia and West Midnapore in West Bengal blocking railway tracks.

Protests were also held in Odisha and Jharkhand. Apart from ST status, protesters are also demanding the inclusion of the Kurmali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Kurmis are traditionally a community of tillers spread across the Gangetic Plains, and in West Bengal, they form a significant chunk of voters in at least 35 Assembly constituencies in the Jangal Mahal area spread across the districts of Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Midnapore.

At present the community has been included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) list, but members want the ST status that the community held till 1931 before India gained independence. They were subsequently excluded from the list for unknown reasons.

Rajesh Mahata, the West Bengal committee president of the Kurmi Samaj organization, told The Telegraph, “We were supposed to have been designated as the ST shortly after Independence, but that has never happened. We demand that our community and language are given their due.”

In a joint statement, Jharkhand Kurmi Vikas Morcha central president Sheetal Ohdar and spokesperson Om Prakash Mahto, said that the agitation would continue till the community’s demands were met. Odhar told TT, “Unless the central government announces to include Kurmi in the ST list, we will continue our agitation. If the government does not take a decision on this soon, the political parties may have to bear the brunt of it in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”

As a result of the protests, train services were disrupted along the South Eastern Railway in all three states with several trains cancelled on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Economic Times reports that protesters blocked all trains to Kharagpur, Khemasuli and Purulia.

This is the second major protest surrounding exclusion from the ST list in eastern India. Last Thursday, six tribal groups from Assam blocked National Highway 37 in Chabua after discovering that they had been excluded from the Centre’s revised ST list. The Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutias, Koch Rajbonshis and Tea Tribes have long been demanding ST status in Assam.

Related:

Still no recognition for non-ST tribes in India

Assam: Six tribal groups protest non-inclusion in Centre’s revised ST list

Kurmi community’s Rail Roko protest demanding ST status continues

Community also demands inclusion of their language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution; train services affected in Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal for second straight day

KurmiImage courtesy: PTI


The Kurmi community’s protest demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status continued on Wednesday in West Bengal. The protest that is being led by five different groups from Jangal Mahal representing interests of the Kurmi community began on Tuesday with thousands of people holding demonstrations in Purulia and West Midnapore in West Bengal blocking railway tracks.

Protests were also held in Odisha and Jharkhand. Apart from ST status, protesters are also demanding the inclusion of the Kurmali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Kurmis are traditionally a community of tillers spread across the Gangetic Plains, and in West Bengal, they form a significant chunk of voters in at least 35 Assembly constituencies in the Jangal Mahal area spread across the districts of Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Midnapore.

At present the community has been included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) list, but members want the ST status that the community held till 1931 before India gained independence. They were subsequently excluded from the list for unknown reasons.

Rajesh Mahata, the West Bengal committee president of the Kurmi Samaj organization, told The Telegraph, “We were supposed to have been designated as the ST shortly after Independence, but that has never happened. We demand that our community and language are given their due.”

In a joint statement, Jharkhand Kurmi Vikas Morcha central president Sheetal Ohdar and spokesperson Om Prakash Mahto, said that the agitation would continue till the community’s demands were met. Odhar told TT, “Unless the central government announces to include Kurmi in the ST list, we will continue our agitation. If the government does not take a decision on this soon, the political parties may have to bear the brunt of it in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”

As a result of the protests, train services were disrupted along the South Eastern Railway in all three states with several trains cancelled on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Economic Times reports that protesters blocked all trains to Kharagpur, Khemasuli and Purulia.

This is the second major protest surrounding exclusion from the ST list in eastern India. Last Thursday, six tribal groups from Assam blocked National Highway 37 in Chabua after discovering that they had been excluded from the Centre’s revised ST list. The Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutias, Koch Rajbonshis and Tea Tribes have long been demanding ST status in Assam.

Related:

Still no recognition for non-ST tribes in India

Assam: Six tribal groups protest non-inclusion in Centre’s revised ST list

Related Articles

Communalism

Gandhi as “evil” (Mahiasura) is a time-tested narrative for all hues of Hindu communalists

The latest depiction of Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Mahiasura’ at the All India’s Hindu Mahasaha’s puja pandal in Kolkatta is a time-tested narrative of Hindu communalists who, as Teesta Setalvad has writen, regurgitate this narrative portraying Gandhi as different forms of “evil”

Communalism

Gandhi as “evil” (Mahiasura) is a time-tested narrative for all hues of Hindu communalists

The latest depiction of Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Mahiasura’ at the All India’s Hindu Mahasaha’s puja pandal in Kolkatta is a time-tested narrative of Hindu communalists who, as Teesta Setalvad has writen, regurgitate this narrative portraying Gandhi as different forms of “evil”


Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives