Government has open mind on giving ST status to six Assamese tribal groups: Kyndiah

December 18th, 2007 - 6:46 pm ICT by admin  

By Sanjay Kumar
New Delhi, Dec.18 (ANI): Union Tribal Affairs Minister P R Kyndia today assured tribal leaders from Assam that the Central Government would seriously look into matters of tribal welfare in that state.
“The Government has an open mind regarding giving the ST (Scheduled Tribes) status to the six tribes of Assam who have launched an agitation in the state in this regard,” he said.
Recognizing the seriousness of the problem Kyndiah underlined the need for a fresh look on the tribal issues in Assam.
Out of six communities invited for talks by the Tribal Affairs Ministry, only two — the Tai Ahom and the Koch Rajbongshi — turned up.
Nava Phukan, Working President of the Tai Ahom Council expressed satisfaction over the meeting’s deliberations. He, however, said that his democratic struggle for giving ST status to tribal groups in Assam will continue and there is an urgent need to correct the historical wrong done in 1951.
Abhijit Talukdar,President of the All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Yuva Chatra Sanmilon expressed unhappiness after the talks with the Union Tribal Affairs Minister.
How long the government will keep on giving assurances. Our demands are genuine and we want the Union government to recognize our status and take concrete steps to redress our problems, said Abhijit Talukdar.
However, the tribal leaders were unanimous in their criticism of the All Adivasi National Liberation Army or AANLAs violent method of struggle.
We dont support violence and any solution be sought through democratic struggle, said Nava Phukan, Working President of the Tai Ahom Council.
No doubt we dont want violence but how long can we be patient when the government is not listening to us, Abhijit Talukdar,President of the All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Yuva Chatra Sanmilon.
On Sunday, organisations of six communities of Assam Koch-Rajbanshis, Morans, Muttocks, Tea tribes/Adivasis, Tai-Ahoms and Chutias had decided to boycott the meet in Delhi.
But two of themn - Koch-Rajbanshis and Tai-Ahoms eventually attended it.
These organizations had earlier rejected an economic package announced by the Government of Assam following the November 24 violence at Beltola here during a procession by the All-Adivasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA)
Clashes between Adivasi protesters and locals in Guwahati left one person dead and nearly 300 injured on November 24. A young Adivasi woman was publicly stripped by the rioters, leading to widespread outrage. The State Government has announced a judicial and a CBI probe.
The Assam State Assembly has passed a resolution recognizing the demands of the six tribes of Assam. It has asked the Centre to give these tribes ST status.
AANLA,an underground group of tibals and advasis with hundred odd cadres are spearheading a violent struggle for eth welfare of the tribals in Assam.The groups triggered a bomblast in Rajdhani Express in Dibrugarh last week that killed five people and injured four others.
The Assam government is thinking of banning the outfit.
The demand of the adivasis for ST status harks back to a history of struggle against ad hoc state policy and perceived denial of identity. These adivasis are the descendants of various tribal communities of central India who, over a century and a half ago, went there or were indentured to work in the tea gardens of eastern India. They ceased to be recognized as tribal because the rules stipulate that a persons tribal identity is irrevocably linked to his or her place of origin. Such rules govern even the movement of tribal communities within Assam the Hill Tribes and the Plains Tribes do not carry their tribal identity when they move out of their designated areas
A coordination committee meeting of All-Adivasi Students Association of Assam held at Sivasagar on Sunday also decided to call a 36-hour Assam shutdown on December 30-31 to press their demand for ST status. (ANI)

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