GUWAHATI: The Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organizations of Assam (CCTOA) has taken a pledged not to let the government accord ST status to six ethnic groups of Assam.
The CCTOA had a discussion on the issue at an emergent meeting in Guwahati on Thursday. Talking to the media after the meeting, CCTOA chief coordinator Aditya Khakhlari said: “The move of the State and the Central governments to accord ST status to the six ethnic groups of Assam – Koch-Rajbongshis, Tai Ahoms, Chutias, Morans, Motucks and Tea Tribes – is a ploy to drive a wedge among the tribals in the State. We’ve taken a pledge not to allow ST status to the six groups. There is a report that the Centre is going to declare the six communities STs. Such a step suggests that the Centre is doing it by keeping all parties and ST organizations of the State in dark. Such a decision, if taken, will spell doom for the existing STs in Assam. The six communities have already been declared OBCs in the State. The Centre is yet to make the formula to be taken on reservations public. Without formulating the policy, how can it declare ST status to these six other backward communities.”
Khakhlari said: “The Centre is going ahead with the ST issue to drive a wedge among the tribals of Assam who are a united lot against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.” He said that the CCTOA is going to stage statewide dharna on January 5 and submit memoranda to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister. “If the Centre goes ahead on the issue unilaterally, we’ll hold a convention by January-end to chalk out a strategy to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.”
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