Rajya Sabha MP and Dhangar community leader Vikas Mahatme on Friday warned of an agitation by his community members if they are not granted the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status in Maharashtra.
The Dhangar (shepherd) community has been for long demanding the ST status which will allow them to avail reservation in government jobs and education.
The community is currently classified as a Nomadic Tribe (NT) in the state and Mahatme's comments come in the backdrop of the ongoing protests by the Marathas over their demand for reservation in government jobs and education.
Mahatme said he raised the ST status issue in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Talking to PTI over the phone, Mahatme said, "The issue of granting ST status to the Dhangar community has been pending since the last 70 years. The BJP, in its election manifesto, had promised ST status to the Dhangar community."
The state government should recommend to the Centre to include the Dhangars in the list of STs, said Mahatme.
"This is necessary otherwise the Dhangar community may hit the roads and start aggressive protests as being done by the Marathas," said Mahatme.
Last year, the Maharashtra government had said in the legislature that it is committed to include the Dhangar community in the ST category.