Image Courtesy - Community member Garjan Dhimal
Image Courtesy - Community member Garjan Dhimal

Ethnic Dhimals await tribal recognition from successive governments

By Joymala Bagchi (ANI) | Updated: Apr 04, 2019 12:46 IST

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], Apr 4 (ANI): With only thousand-odd members,  'Dhimal' one of the oldest indigenous tribes of North Bengal 'Dhimal' who are facing a threat of extinction say they continue to await tribal status recognition.
The Dhimals who reside at Maniram Gram Panchayat near Naxalbari comprises of 1015 members from 160 families who are striving hard to preserve their identity. Earlier in Terai region more than 10,000 community members used to live.
With each successive government, community members say their hope of getting themselves registered under Tribal Recognition Act become dimmer.
Speaking to ANI, 58-year-old Garjan Kumar Mallik, a member of Dhimal community said, "Gradually we are losing our identity. After several false promises by leaders now we have no expectations from anyone at all. We continue to be steadfast with our demands for recognition."
Most Dhimal families live the below poverty line which compel them to move to other cities in search of work. They go as far as Delhi, Haryana and Kerala only to work as cheap labour and rarely return.
Also, youngsters from the community no more resort to their traditional means of livelihoods such as fishing and agriculture.
Mallik said "For quite sometime neither has anybody come to us nor asked us about our well being. At times I doubt that they might think we are already extinct." (ANI)