ST status to Tea Tribes: Former
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, August 19: All Assam Adivasi Students’ Association’s (AAASA) former general secretary David Horo has said that Dispur and New Delhi have not been doing justice to the Tea Tribes of Assam on the issue of according them ST status.
In a statement issued to the press today, Horo said: “Adivasis have been included as ST all over the country. However, in 1952 an area restriction was enforced for the Adivasis of Assam, depriving the community of their ST status and fundamental rights. Many Adivasi organizations have all along been demanding the lifting of the area restriction for the Adivasis of the State, but to no avail. Dispur has created an identity crisis for the Tea Tribes, and this is why the RGI doesn’t recognize the Tea Tribes of Assam as an ST. Dispur has fed the RGI with wrong and irrelevance explations and information on the Tea Tribes, and by doing that Dispur has misled the RGI. Despite various Adivasi organizations feeding the RGI with right information and documents on Adivasis, the lack of goodwill from Dispur and ministers, MPs and MLAs of the State has been depriving the Adivasis of their rights. Many Adivasi leaders have become ministers, MPs and MLAs, but they do precious little for the community. Since Tea Tribes and Ex-Tea Tribes are not regarded as STs, when this community demands funds for their development, the government doesn’t accept it. In the recently held Assembly Session in Assam, no minister or MLA spoke on the demand for ST status to the Tea Tribes. In the run-up to the election, these politicians shouted slogans for the development of the community, and with the election is over, they’re now hatching a conspiracy to deprive the community of their rights. If the Sarbanda Sonowal-led BJP government in the State doesn’t change its policy towards the Tea Tribes, the community will be extinct from Assam. Not sending any amended resolution to the RGI on the issue of ST status to the Tea Tribes will be tantamount to testing the patience of the community. In the event of any untoward incident, the government will be held responsible.”