GUWAHATI: Dispur’s ambitious plan to expand the State’s capital region by merging nearby areas has triggered sharp reaction and protests from various tribal organizations and representatives of autonomous councils. Extending solidarity to their emotion, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) also on Saturday wrote an urgent letter to State’s Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal urging not to merge tribal belt, block and areas fall under the autonomous council.
In its letter, the AASU demanded the Chief Minister to ensure indigenous peoples’ rights on lands within the proposed areas. The AASU also stressed the Chief Minister to bring necessary amendment of the proposed Act during the ongoing Assembly session.
“The AASU has the same opinion with the fundamental objective of the expansion plan of the capital region. However, in doing so, the expansion should not merge the tribal belt, block and the areas fall under the autonomous council. Moreover, Dispur should also ensure the land rights of the indigenous people who are scattered within the proposed areas,” said AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
Stating that during the relocation of the State’s capital from Shillong to Guwahati, sizeable numbers of tribal as well as indigenous people had to loss their rights on lands, the duo said, “Such sightlessness should not be repeated yet again.”
AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya added, “In accordance with the expansion process, interest of the tribal and other ethnic communities will not be compromised.”