Guwahati, Sept 30: The Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisations of Assam have strongly opposed the enforcement of the Assam State Capita Region Development Authority Act 2017 (ASCRDA) in the tribal belts and blocks of the region.
In a joint meeting of the triban organizations held in the city recently, it was decided that the Missing, Tewa, and Rabha autonomous councils and other tribal areas in the Sate be incorporated in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The meeting also resolved that all encroachers and foreigners be evicted from tribal belts and blocks and that tribal forest dwellers in the State be give land rights under Forest Right Recognisation Act 2006.
In respect of languages, the meeting demanded of the government that Rabha, Mising, Karbi be included as a medium of instruction in lower and upper primary level schools . The meeting also urged for inclusion of Tewa, Deuri, Dimasa in the school curriculum as language subjects.
So far as the Assam State Capita Region Development Authority Act 2017 (ASCRDA) is concerned, Kamala Kanta Mushahary, Indigenous Tribal Sahitya Sabha (ITSS) general secretary said, “Whenever the government talks of tribal area development, the real purpose is always found to be something else. The ulterior motive is always found to be to call the organizations for discussion and later to hand over tribal land to capitalist groups.” He also said that examples exist in respect of states like MP, Orissa, Uttarkhand, Chattisgarh, to name a few, where thousands of acres of tribal land has been handed over to capitalist groups in the name of development of tribal people . In the context of Assam, he said that thousands of bighas of land in tribal belts have lost the tribal status over the years.
He went on to add that it is for such reasons that the Assam State Capita Region Development Authority Act 2017 (ASCRDA) has created panic among the tribal people. He said that the Act will destroy the social, cultural and linguistic tradition, structure and heritage of the Rabha, Tewa, Kerbi, Hajong, Bodo and other indigenous people of the region, besides posing a grave threat to the Rabha and Tewa autonomous councils and the tribal belts and blocks.
He further said that in 1962 as many as 1368 families of refugees from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were settled in Bijni in Chirang District and for the purpose 11254 bighas of tribal belt land in the area were made tribal belt free. Again in 1969 when the capital of Assam was transferred from Shillong to Guwahati, 1 lakh 4 thousand baighs of land in South Kamrup Tribal Belt were freed of the tribal belt status.
Hence the tribal organizations have strongly opposed the operation of the Act in tribal belts and blocks, Mushahary added.