The central government decision to bring the Hatti community under the Scheduled Tribes list in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district is spreading resentment among some sections.
- The Hattis are a close-knit community who take their name from their traditional occupation of selling home-grown crops, vegetables, meat, and wool at small-town markets known as ‘haats’.
- Hatti men traditionally don a distinctive white headgear on ceremonial occasions.
- The Hatti homeland straddles the Himachal-Uttarakhand border in the basin of the Giri and Tons rivers, both tributaries of the Yamuna.
- The Tons marks the border between the two states, and the Hattis living in the Trans-Giri area in today’s Himachal Pradesh and JaunsarBawar in Uttarakhand were once part of the royal estate of Sirmaur. JaunsarBawar was conquered by the British in 1814.
- Parts of the Trans-Giri region, where most of the Hatti community lives, also come under the Assembly Constituencies of Renukaji, Shillai, and Pachhad.
- The two Hatti clans, in Trans-Giri and JaunsarBawar, have similar traditions, and inter-marriages are common.
What are their Demands?
- Tribal Status: They have been demanding Schedule Tribe status since 1967 when tribal status was accorded to people living in JaunsarBawar in Uttarakhand, which shares a border with the Sirmaur district.
- Issue: Due to topographical disadvantages, the Hattis living in the Kamrau, Sangrah, and Shilliai areas of Himachal Pradesh have lagged behind in both education and employment.
SC & ST Population of Himachal Pradesh
- As per the most recent Census (2011), 5.71% of the State’s population is ST and 25.19% of the population is classified as SC.