From our Correspondent
KOKRAJHAR, Oct 12: The Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM), while supporting whole-heartedly the demand for separate state of Bodoland, advised the ABSU and its movement organization to focus on the need for re-organization of state under the existing law of the land instead of staging railway blockade.
The president of the BJSM, Janaklal Basumatary said before elections, leaders of political parties give assurance to grant ST status to the six communities of Assam. He said the statement of the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale reflected the assurance given by successive governments to grant ST status since the last 50 years. He said the Government of India knew that all the proposals of the six communities did not fulfill the criteria of granting ST status as per provision of Article 342 of Indian Constitution and so the proposals were rejected on several occasions. The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment knew that his ministry only submitted the 23rd standing committee report regarding pending proposals of ST recognition and working of its modality before 11th Lok Sabha session of 2011-12.
Basumatary said the minister knew that in the present modality, all the six communities’ proposal stood rejected. The Koch Rajbongshis are recognized as Scheduled Caste in West Bengal, thus they cannot be ST in any other State of India even if they change the name of their community. The tea tribes migrated from various other States of India and formed a new community with new culture, and thus no more had any criteria of Scheduled Tribe. Moreover, simply on the ground of migration from other States they cannot be Scheduled Tribe in the migrated State. The Ahoms, Chutiyas, Morans and Motoks represent the influential language, culture and religion of greater Assamese society as common Ahom group. So they lost criteria for ST recognition as there is nothing to protect their entity. As per the 23rd standing committee report of the social justice ministry, their proposal stood rejected under the present modalities.
Janaklal Basumatary said the re-organization of state could be asked on linguistic basis having distinct identity of language, culture, customs and tradition, social heritage and religious belief, common historical ethnic group with strong historical background for ownership of land and also on the ground of ensuring equal regional development economically, educationally, socially and intellectually. He said the Bodos had all these gradients for effecting the reorganization of State as per law of the land for creation of Bodoland separate state. “They should focus on the need for protection, promotion and adoration of their language, culture, customs, traditions, social heritage for preserving and holding distinct separate identity and also for attaining equal regional development economically, educationally and socially. They should focus on the land that belongs to them. The other people of the greater society are intruders to this land,” he said, adding that during British rule they got upper hand by helping the British administration and took the reign of rule by being majority society and majority linguistic group and Assam state was created on linguistic basis. So they followed the policy to suppress other linguistic groups by assimilating the smaller linguistic groups to Assamese majority linguistic group. He also said by this they could not hold the hill districts of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram for long. Soon reorganization of state was held and they were created as separate states on linguistic basis and regional development with closer administrative control under the provision of Reorganization of State Act, 1956.
Basumatary said the Bodos remained deprived as their leaders joined the ruling political parties dominated by people of social and linguistic majority. They became blind followers of leaders of majority society and linguistic group to retain their political power for personal gain. He said the ruling people of majority linguistic group continue to follow the policy of suppressing the other smaller linguistic group of people and accept their domination in the name of national integration. But it is not integration but forceful assimilation. He also said that forceful assimilation was illegal as forceful conversion of religion. The Constitution has provided protective provisions from such forceful assimilation. These protective provisions should be fully utilized for the protection and preservation of their rights.
The tribal leader said that the ABSU should exercise vigil so that no person could take away their political rights guaranteed in the Constitution. They should ensure to elect their representatives in the State legislature and Parliament who can speak in support of their cause. Currently Boros have one Rajya Sabha MP and 12 MLAs but they are voiceless as their wings have been clipped by the lure of power and position for personal gain, he said.
Basumatary said the tribal region distinctly remained economically and educationally neglected and deprived of legitimate equal regional development. He said all higher educational institutions were concentrated in the town and cities dominated by majority advanced community and 95 per cent of the State economy was controlled by these people living in these town and cities. Thus there is a large regional imbalance in development. These vital reasons for justification of creation of separate state should be raised in the Parliament and the Assembly as well. He also said the ABSU should ensure choosing their representatives who could speak for them selflessly and fearlessly. Then only their demand for separate state within the framework of the Constitution could be achieved.
From our Correspondent