From our Correspondent
Kokrajhar, Dec 5: The Kokrajhar district committee of All Santal Students’ Union (ASSU) on Tuesday staged a three-hour sit-in near the DC office, Kokrajhar demanding inclusion of Santals in ST list, creating post for Santali teachers from primary to HS level and providing land patta to them. Hundreds of activists and supporters took part in the protest.
Talking to media persons, the president of Kokrajhar district ASSU Elbin Murmu said the Santals were the most backward community in the State, lagging behind in all developmental parameters. He said the community had been denied their rights and the government had not taken initiative to bring them into the larger framework of development.
Murmu said unlike other tribal groups within the State of Assam, the Santals were yet to be recognized as ST in the State although they were ST in other parts of the country. He said it was a matter of injustice that on one side development was taking place for certain groups and communities but on the other side, the downtrodden Santals who needed immediate care and attention were being continuously suppressed, deprived and exploited since Independence. He also said they had lost faith in democracy due to systematic suppression of the government.
The Santal leader said they had been living in forest areas since many years but they were not given land pattas and thus they were being denied of the Traditiol Forest Dwellers Act, 2005. He demanded that the Santals should be given land pattas in the forest areas and government should set up schools, construct road and bridges, provide drinking water facilities, health centre and electricity connection.
Murmu said the government had not taken steps to introduce Santali language in the schools of Assam. He demanded to introduce Santali language from primary to HS level in Assam and creation of posts for Santali teachers. He reiterated that the Santals were not getting right to education due to apathetic attitude of the government.
Separate memoranda were sent to the Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal and State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma through Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner demanding ST status for the Santal community, land patta and introduction of Santali language in schools of Assam.