The Yobin tribe of Arunachal is the least known tribe of the State. And this is largely due to geographical isolation. In fact, the abode of Yobin race is surrounded by Myanmar on three sides. The area remained unknown to the rest of India until the Chaukan Pass Expedition called OP Srijitga carried out in 1961 by the 7th Assam Rifles.
According to the District Research Officer D. Yupang, “The Yobin are the little-known-tribe. They are of the Mongoloid race and of the Tibeto-Burman Language group…”.
Until the late 1960s, the Yobin tribal men used to be detained by the CRPF at Miao. Local leaders like late P.C. Lah of Miao used to enlighten the military that Yobins were Indians inhabiting deep jungle villages of Dawodi areas now called Vijoynagar
However, even today, the principal villages of Yobin can be accessed by tracking for 4-7 days on foot. Even now, there are some, who misunderstand about the constitutional and legal identity of Yobin Tribe. And sure enough, the tribe suffered much illegal marginalization for decades.
It seems proper, therefore, to illumine about the Constitutional and Legal Standing of the Yobin Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Presented below is a gist of the official documents about the tribe:-
The Gazetteer of India/ Arunachal Pradesh/ Tirap Gazetteer enlisted Yobin as “Scheduled Tribe of Tirap” on page no: 44. Again, it illustrated about the ethnographic gist of the tribe from pages 90-92.
The local Administration, the ADC Miao vouches for the tribe thus:- “… the Yobin Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh is an indigenous tribe of the State…”. (NO M/ESTT/PF/TM/2014).
Very recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs clarified about the Yobin thus:- “… in fact, all the indigenous tribal communities of the State are the notified STs in the State making ‘Yobin’ also a notified ST in Arunachal Pradesh…”. ( File no. 28/1/2017-ss (public grievance)75. Dated 27.09.2017. This is absolutely clear.
Again, the ORGI (Office of the Registrar General of India), which is an authority on Scheduled Tribe matters, stated (dated 1-8-2014 )about Yobin Tribe thus:- “The proposed community ‘Yobin’ being an indigenous tribe of the State have the status of a ST. … the proposed tribe is an independent Scheduled Tribe and not a section / subgroup/synonym of any of the 16 STs appeared in the illustrative notified list, this office supports the inclusion of Yobin in the STs list of Arunachal Pradesh after Adi listed at the Sl. No. 16”. Cf: ORGI letter: No. 8/1/2014-ss (Arunachal Pradesh). This is understandable.
Again, the NCST (National Commission for Scheduled Tribe) commented on Yobin Tribe in its 60th Meeting thus: Yobin to avail ST Certificate under “All Tribes…” “…Yobin Tribe were getting ST Certificate as per the interpretation of the words “All Tribes of the Union Territory including:… the State to issue Community Certificates. … No amendment of the Presidential Order is accordingly required given its provisions, which are also not in conflict with the judgment of the Supreme Court”.
The prominent Singpho leadership also authenticated the issue saying that Yobin Tribe is the aboriginal tribe of Dawodi, which is presently known as Vijoynagar, the name given by 7th Assam Rifles after 1961.
The Govt of Arunachal Pradesh upheld Yobin Tribe’s ST status in its letter to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs thus,”… the Presidential Order of 1950 with respect to Scheduled Tribes as amended in 1956 is applicable to Yobins”. And it is this Presidential Order that made Yobin also a notified ST of the State.
It is also true that the issuance of ST Certificates to Yobin Community is halted since March 2017! One might wonder why! And the answer is simple. It was a bureaucratic error. So, the objection was not On the Yobin People, but on the faulty Notification. The ground rule is that no State in India can notify or de-notify any tribe as ST. They can simply issue community certificates as the constitution affords. One of the objection letters that came from MTA clearly states, “… But the people are a Scheduled Tribe”.
Legal consultations on this issue simplifies the mess thus: since Yobin is an indigenous tribe of the State, an executive Order/notification from Chief Minister / Chief Secretary can be issued to the DC Changlang/ ADC, Miao to issue ST Certificates to the members of Yobin Community.
Recently, leaders of Yobin Community has met all the concerned authorities of the Govt of India. The NCST clarified two things: that YOBIN ST does not come under Article 342 as notified by the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, in February 2015. But it comes under the Presidential Order: SC&ST List (Modification) Order 1956. And they assured once again that the Commission has been upholding Yobin Tribe’s ST status. And no State in India can notify or de-notify any tribe as ST. The Sate can simply issue Community Certificates to the members of ST.
Coming back to the State Government, the leaders of Yobin Community has recently approached the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, DCM, Cabinet Ministers, and others to help rectify Yobin ST mess created by a wrong notification.
Yobin tribe has submitted the Constitutional and Legal basis of Yobin Tribe’s claims. And now the whole tribe is anticipating a positive Amendment to the State’s faulty Extra Ordinary Gazette Notification. The tribe is anxiously waiting for the encouraging assurance by the Chief Minister and local Minister to become a reality without any further delay.
Yobin Tribe Fundamental Rights Forum