KUKI AND ZOMI TRIBES (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     11th January 2024        
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Context: The suggestion that the government could review the Scheduled Tribes status of Kukis in Manipur has drawn strong reactions from the Kuki-Zomi organisations in the state.

Kuki and Zomi Tribes

  • About: These tribes are prominent ethnic groups originating from the Bangladesh region.
  • Residence in Manipur and Mizoram: Primarily, the Kuki and Zomi tribes are residents of Manipur and Mizoram in India.
  • Aliases: The tribes are also recognized as Chin or Mizo people, sharing common ancestry and culture.
  • Language and Cultural Ties: Members of these tribes speak various dialects within the Chin-Kuki-Mizo language family, falling under the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages.
  • Connection to Zo People and Other Tribes: The Kuki and Zomi tribes are closely related to the broader Zo people, alongside other tribes like Chin and Mizo.

Process of Amendment in the ST List

  • Parliamentary Law: Any tribe or tribal community's inclusion or exclusion from the list is solely determined by laws enacted by the Parliament of India.
  • Article 342: Amendments to the list of Scheduled Tribes are made through notifications issued under clause (1) of Article 342.
  • Limitations on Modifications: According to a Supreme Court verdict, neither State governments, courts, tribunals, nor any other authority has the authority to modify, amend, or alter the Scheduled Tribes list specified in the notification under Article 342(1).
  • Proposal Origin and Parliamentary Action: The center emphasizes that the initiation of proposals for inclusion or exclusion from the Scheduled Tribes list must come from the respective State government. 
  • Lokur Committee: Established in 1965, decided on the criteria used by the government to declare communities as Scheduled Tribes.