Around 120 Tamil Nadu fisherfolk held a demonstration outside Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Monday demanding that their community’s legal status be changed from Most Backward Class to Scheduled Tribe category so they can avail of reservations for education and jobs.

The fisherfolk belonged to an organisation called Meenavar Vazhurimai Iyakkam, an outfit based in Puducherry, which working for the welfare of the fishing community. The fishermen themselves came from Puducherry, Cuddalore and Villipuram.

“Why differentiate between the people who live in the hills and the people who live in the sea?” asked Egambaram, the leader of the demonstration in New Delhi. “We are clubbed together with so many different caste groups and economic groups in MBC category. We are unable to avail of enough benefits to make our children study well.” The organisation also requested that a new central ministry be formed dedicated only for fisheries.

The demand to be put on the Scheduled Tribe list is a longstanding one for many fishing communities in the country.