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BJSM urges Governor to stop allotment of tribal land to ULFA, private parties

From our Correspondent

KOKRAJHAR, Feb 6: The Bodoland Jajati Suraksha Manch (BJSM), a non-political organization working for protection of tribal rights, has opposed the move for providing 500 bighas of land to the members of the ULFA in BTC area. A meeting was held recently in Kokrajhar between the leaders of pro-talk ULFA led by Anup Chetia and the BTC chief for uniting the ULFA cadres in Bodoland.

The president of the BJSM, Jaklal Basumatary said the ULFA was a non-tribal organization with their separate objectives for certain communities and the ULFA’s issue was pending with the Central Government. He said the BTC had no relation with the ULFA issue and it had nothing to do in any negotiation of the ULFA with the Central Government or State Government.

“Neither the Central Government nor the State Government can shift the burden of solution of ULFA issue on to the shoulder of BTC’s 6th schedule tribal area administration, which has been constituted to protect tribal land and tribal people from exploitation and causing extinction of tribal culture, language and customs and tradition by advanced communities as per provision guaranteed in the Constitution of India,” he said adding that the BTC could not utilize the tribal area land for providing settlement of non-tribal people or for institution of business establishments of non-tribal community for their private profit. He also said the BTC had no relief and rehabilitation power and no tribal reserve land could be utilized for any rehabilitation of non-tribal people or non-tribal business establishments.

Basumatary said under these facts and circumstances and having regard to the prevailing law in force, the BTC chief’s contemplated action for providing 500 bighas of land to ULFA cadres to get them united was without sanction of law of the land. “Therefore, we request the Governor of Assam to stop the BTC chief from indulging in illegal action detrimental to the tribal right to be protected and self-development as guaranteed in the Constitution, and to issue suitable direction to BTC authority to this effect as guardian of the 6th schedule administration of Assam,” Basumatary said, adding that the BTC administration had already allotted a vast area of land in Chirang and Udalguri districts of BTC area to Patanjali company of non-tribal individuals for their benefit. He said the land covered tribal reserve land in tribal belt and block area, tribal sub plan area, BTC tribal area administration area and forest reserve land area. These lands are reserved for the use for the benefit of tribal people only that cannot be allotted to non-tribal individuals and their institutions of business profit as per provision of existing Assam Land and Land Revenue Regulation Act, 1886 as amended in 1947 by creation of Tribal Belt and Block in Assam, and as per provision of Assam Forest Protection Act, and Forest Dwellers Act, 2006, he said.

Moreover, Basumatary said the non-tribal business establishments for their profit purpose would cause excessive exploitation of tural resources in tribal area and it would completely destroy the tribal indigenous traditiol skill of herbal medicine making and destroy the tribal culture and tradition and means of livelihood. Therefore, the land allotted in these areas to Patanjali private company by the BTC administration and Assam Government should be cancelled and any work started by the company must be stopped forthwith, he said.

Basumatary said their petitions for eviction of illegal occupiers of tribal protected land were pending with four Deputy Commissioners of BTC, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri for long without any action. The matter was brought to the notice of the Prime Minister of India whose office directed the Government of Assam to take action as per law promptly, but the Government of Assam and BTC administration did not take any action till date. Instead, they were alloting tribal reserve land to unqualified non-tribal people, totally disregarding the existing law of the land, he rued.

The BJSM president urged the Governor of Assam to take up the issue and necessary action for eviction of illegal settlers in tribal lands as per law and to save the tribal people by restoring the tribal land to tribal people as per law.

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Ankur Kalita