By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 22: The Assam Plains Karbi Adarbar has thrown a challenge at the Assam Government.
“The government must prove with historical records that the Amri Karbi tribe resided in the plain areas. The Karbis are divided into three categories – Ronghong, Chintong and Amri. The Amri Karbis are inhabitants of hill districts. However, some section of the plains people, mostly backed by political leaders, are labelling a section of the plains people as Amri Karbi tribe. The government must prove to us historically that the Amri Karbi tribe lived in the plains. The evidence must not be based only on books but on historical records,” said Assam Plains Karbi Adarbar secretary Ajit Kathar.
He said, “The Amri Karbi National Council (AKNC) is a politically motivated organization. Its main objective is converting Karbi people into Christianity. Already there has been large-scale conversion of Karbi people into Christianity in the Dimoria area. This conversion must stop. The Karbi people living in the plains are simple people. The level of literacy among them is low and they continue to follow age-old traditions and customs. It is easy for the AKNC to convert these simple people. If this happens, the traditions of the Karbi people will vanish slowly. The government should not allow this to happen and it must keep a close watch on the AKNC and its activities.”
Kathar also said that the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs had written a letter to the Assam Government in which the Ministry sought a clarification from the State Government as to whether the Amri Karbis reside in the plain areas or not.
In the letter dated 24.9.2012, Under Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Purnima Tudu asked the Commissioner and Secretary of the WPT and BC Department, Government of Assam, to “expedite the detailed justification along with the ethnographic report on the Amri Karbi community for considering the proposal on the inclusion of the community in the ST list of Assam”.
The letter further stated that a representation from the Karbi Women Development Society president Lily Taro (dated 9.8.2012) received through the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes requested that the Amri Karbi should not be recognized as a separate tribe of the Karbi community in the plain areas of Assam. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has sought the views and comments of the WPT and BC Department in this regard.