The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) on Thursday called for the identification of individuals, born to Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) mothers and non-APST fathers and claim APST benefits under their mother’s name, across the state within 30 days. The AAPSU has also asked such individuals to “surrender” their ST certificates.
AAPSU president Hawa Bagang said, “In Indian society, except for Meghalaya, children are given the surname of their father. Then why do these people often take up the surname of their APST mothers and not that of the non-APST fathers? They use their mother’s surname and identity to get benefits reserved for APST communities.”
Bagang said, “Our concern is that if such individuals are taking the benefits reserved for APSTs, then it dilutes tribal society and eats into our rights. We cannot let this happen. It is not a personal attack against any individual or any call for vigilantism, but this is an appeal for a strict policy. We will urge the state government to pass a law regarding this matter.”
In September, Mizoram’s apex and most influential students’ body, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), administered pledges to hundreds of students across the Christian-majority state not to marry outside the Mizo tribe. The oral pledges, administered in high schools and higher secondary schools, came as part of the body’s campaign to “protect” the tribal community from getting “assimilated”.