GUWAHATI: The Assam Plains Karbi Adarbar (APKA) on Thursday raised the demand for ST(P) status to all Karbis living in plain areas in Assam before Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Talking to this reporter, APKA general secretary Ajit Kathar said: "We the Karbis (Mikirs) are an aboriginal tribe of Assam and have been living in both hill and plain areas in the State since time immemorial. In 1951, the United Mikir Hill and North Cachar Hill (now Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao) was declared a district and on June 23, 1952 both the hills were declared autonomous councils. Since then the Karbis living in plain areas outside the two autonomous districts aren't recognized as STs. We repeatedly raised the demand for ST status before the WPT & BC, Assam that kept sending the proposals to the Government of India since 1998, but to no avail. This is an injustice to us. On February 28, 2015 the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) agreed to the proposal of the Assam Government to include Karbi (Mikir) community in the ST(P) list. It was also backed by the Register General of India (RGI). On January 19, 2016 Prime Minister Narendra announced at Kokrajhar that the ST issue of Karbi (Mikir) in plains will be resolved. The matter was passed by the Union Cabinet on May 25, 2016. And the Bill regarding the issue was introduced in the Parliament on December 14, 2016. However, the Bill has been pending since then."
To this effect, the APKA recently met Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda in New Delhi.