The village assembly of a popular Goa beach village, Benaulim in South Goa, on Wednesday passed a resolution to shut down all businesses, including taxi services operated by the members of the Lamani community, a nomadic tribe with origins in central and southern Indian states.
"The village gram sabha passed a resolution today seeking that the panchayat withdraws all 'no objection certificates' given to businesses operated by teh Lamanis, including taxi operations. The resolution has sought a ban on all businesses operated by the Lamanis," Menino Fernandes deputy sarpanch of the Cana Benaulim village panchayat told IANS on Wednesday.
The resolution will be discussed at a meeting of the panchayat committee next week, where a formal decision would be taken on the issue, Fernandes also said.
Lamanis, traditionally known for their colourful costumes, are involved in the seasonal tourism trade, selling trinkets and handmade clothes along the coastline to tourists who frequent the coastal state annually.
Several second-generation Lamanis settled in Goa are also involved in mainstream businesses, largely affiliated to the tourism sector, which includes the operation of taxi services.
In April 2017, Goa's Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar had demanded a ban on the Lamanis coming to Goa and "setting up businesses and taking away jobs".
After the Minister refused to apologise for his comments, Deputy Speaker of the state assembly Michael Lobo apologised on his behalf, after several Lamani organisations threatened legal action.
Then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Karnataka, which hosts a significant chunk of the Scheduled Tribe population in a letter to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had expressed concern at the well-being of the tribal community.
(With inputs from agencies.)