banjara1There are nearly 400 tribes that comes under the Banjara community but even today they are deprived of their basic rights. However, leaders do remember them before every election and make promises of reservation that are never fulfilled. The same happened again. These visuals are of the Banjara meet held by the suspended BJP MP Haribhau Rathod, which saw the participation of nomads from across the country. When we speak of the banjara community, the first thing that comes to mind is saperas and people inflicting ropes on themselves self-inflicting. While we enjoy their art and entertainment on streets we never go deeper into their enriched culture and history. History says that the ancestors of the banjara community used to live in clusters in forests which posed a big problem for the Britishers. Whenever banjaras used to spot British soldiers, they used to kill them and rob them of their belongings. Irked by these acts, in 1871, the British government came up with a new law where these nomads were declared as criminals at birth itself and banished their movement around the country. The law was still in force even after attaining independence. Later on, the first Prime minister of India canceled the law and allowed these people to move freely anywhere in the country. However, till date, the government has not given special provisions to this community forcing them to still live a nomads live going from street to street for their livelihood. With no permanent address, they do not even have the right to vote. And when they are not voters why would anyone pay any heed to their problems. With the passage of time, some people progressed from this community and politics entered and the successful people became the leaders of the community. Winning the MP elections for the BJP, Haribhau Rathod is one such leader. Now that he has left the BJP party, to maintain his existence, he organized the Akhil Bhartiya Banjara Melava at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Present in the meet was Chief Minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra. Most of the leaders present in the meet opined that the request of Renke committee which is formed for the development and upliftment of nomads should be accepted by the Government and reservations such as ST and SC should be made for this community also. Maharashtra Chief minister Ashok Chavan stated that while the Centre is bringing out schemes for this community, at the state level, they would too develop this community. Deputy Chief Minister Chaggan Bhujbal also admitted that people of the community have been living a tough life till today and therefore, everybody should extend every possible help to them. MP Haribhau Rathod expressed confidence that before completion of the present Loksabha tenure, the demands of Renke committee would be considered and implemented by the Government. But the question arises is that why this has suddenly become important at the last minutes of the oncoming election and why was it ignored for the last 60 years. The nation which has laws to protect nature and animals, why has it failed to enact the rights of the banjara community. But like its said, its never too late. The Centre should think about this community and nring abour effective schemes for their development. With cameraperson Vikrant Baile, Rajeev Mishra for NMTV News.

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