As this will destroy the existing ST communities, we will not accept this- Tribal organisations
The Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisations has called for a 24-hour “Assam bandh” on Friday in protest against the Centre’s move to grant scheduled tribe (ST) status to six “advanced” communities such as Chutia, Motok, Moran, Koch-Rajbongshi, Tai-Ahom and Tea Tribes/Adivasis.
As the state already is boiling in protest of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, This issue has created a situation of tension among the rest of the communities in the state.
By keeping us in the dark, the government introduced a draft bill in the Parliament on Wednesday to grant ST status to the six communities. As this will destroy the existing ST communities, we will not accept this. We will launch a democratic movement to thwart its passage. As part of it, we have called the bandh on Friday. We will stage a series of protests in the coming days,” the committee said.
The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), which is one of the organisations in the committee, said ST status to the six communities would eat into the political representation and economic, job and admission benefits of the 14 recognised tribal communities.
“The six communities in question are far more advanced than the 14 recognised tribes educationally, politically and economically. The Ahoms are not less than the Meenas of Rajasthan. In fact, they are more advanced than the Meenas,” ABSU president Promode Bodo, who is a coordinator in the committee, said.
He said the marginalised ST communities would be destroyed as the Rajbongshis, Ahoms and Tea Tribes/Adivasis together make up around 1.5 crore of Assam’s 3.12 crore population compared to the 38 lakh tribals in the state.
Meanwhile, leaders of the six communities are not amused. They sniffed that the Centre’s move was an “election gimmick”.