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‘Grant ST status or movement for separate Adivasi state will start’

Our Correspondent
Kokrajhar, April 11: The Adivasi tiol Convention Committee (ANCC) leaders on Wednesday threatened to demand for separate Adivasi state in Assam if ST status is not given to the community. The ANCC on Wednesday organized a mass gathering at Amguri in Kokrajhar to press for their demands, including Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for their community in the State and expediting peace talks with rebels groups. General secretary of the committee, Birsing Munda, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Birsa Commando Force that has a ceasefire agreement with the government, said the community had been demanding ST status for tea tribes and Adivasis of Assam.  He slammed the Centre and Dispur for “giving false promise to the community before the elections”.
Stating that the community had been demanding ST status for the last 50 years, Munda demanded tripartite talks on the issue so that it could be resolved at the earliest. He also said if the tea tribes people were not given ST status by 2019, then they would start movement for separate Adivasi state.
Boyal Hembram, president of the committee, said the demand for inclusion of the Oraons, Mundas, Santhals, Kharias, Gonds, Sawras and other communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Assam was not a new matter, rather “it is a matter of recognition of these tribes as Scheduled Tribes because their blood brethren living in other States of the Indian Union are recognized as Scheduled Tribes”.
He also said that five militant organizations of the community were in ceasefire but the government had not initiated any process to hold tripartite talks with them. The committee leaders threatened to intensify their agitation, including imposing indefinite rail blockades, if the Centre did not take up their demands during this monsoon session of the Parliament.