Demand for inclusion of ‘Ho’ in eighth schedule picks up pace
JAMSHEDPUR: Cutting across party lines, public representatives have become united in their demand for the inclusion of Ho, a tribal language, in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
During a week-long agitation that started on December 3, leaders of Aadivasi Ho Samaj Yuva Mahasabha (AHSYM) and other tribal and political organisations staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Their agitation strategy includes meeting Union ministers and tabling a proposal in this regard in the winter session of Lok Sabha (starting from December 11).
Jharkhand BJP president and West Singhbhum MP Laxman Gilua and Congress leader and former chief minister Madhu Koda were among those who participated in the campaign. Several hundred Ho-speaking people from five states — Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, and Chhattisgarh — took part in the dharna, wearing traditional tribal attire. Gilua said that he would raise the issue during the upcoming Lok Sabha session. A delegation of tribal parliamentarians would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in support of the demand, he added.
“Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju has assured us that a private member’s bill will be brought in the house, as the Centre has a positive approach towards regional languages,” said Gilua.
Koda said that if the demand was not tabled in the winter session, the tribal people would not allow transportation of iron ore from Kolhan division. He added that thousands of Ho-speaking people would march from Jharkhand to Delhi in the next phase of the agitation.
AHSYM state secretary Sura Biruli said that Union home minister Rajnath Singh had assured the agitators of a meeting with the Prime Minister on the issue within a couple of days.
“We have submitted documents in support of listing Ho in the Eighth Schedule, as 22 languages have [already] been included. It would be an injustice to us if the Union government continues to ignore our grievances. Tribal people have been deprived of the benefits of government schemes, as the language has not been listed in the eighth schedule yet,” said Biruli.
Currently, 22 languages are part of the eighth schedule. The languages included Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili, and Dogri.
■ BJP state president Laxman Gilua with a delegation handing over a memorandum to Union minister of state for Home affairs Kiran Rijiju in New Delhi on Friday.