From a correspondent
Silchar June 22: The All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS) along with 8 other tribal organizations today submitted a memorandum, through the Deputy Commissioners of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi respectively, to Prateek Hajeela, state nodal officer of tiol Registrar of Citizenship (NRC), regarding the problems faced by the hill tribal people of the valley for submitting the required legal documents for inclusion of their mes in the ongoing NRC updating. They also held a joint press-meet in Kaguiluang L P School of Fatak bazaar area of the town to brief media-persons about the issue.
Speaking to the media, Jamupow Kabui, vice-president of AATS, said that the hill tribal people have been living in Barak Valley since time immemorial. The districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi had been the homeland of many tribal communities since pre-colonial period. The hill tribal communities like Riang, Kuki, Hmar, Khasi among others still practice Jhum cultivation. Therefore, when the land used by them for agriculture is no longer fertile they shift to other locations.
Jamupow Kabui further said that the tribal villages of the valley are mostly iccessible due to their remoteness and partly because of lack of proper road connectivity. As a result of which a majority of the people of these communities do not have their mes enlisted in government records. It is to be noted, mes of a majority of the hill tribal people has not been enlisted for the purpose of establishing their legacy data, either in 1966 or in the 1971 electoral rolls. Thus we request the government to grant us special consideration so that our people’s mes can be enlisted in the ongoing NRC updating.
Charan Tipra, vice-president of Barak Valley Forest Rights Forum, added that the hill tribal communities of the valley lead their lives in very poor and miserable conditions. Moreover, due to their educatiol backwardness the hill tribal people are uble to comprehend the complexities of the ongoing NRC updating and are living in a state of panic. They are not able to establish their identity due to lack of the requisite legal documents. Thus special provisions should be made to inculcate their mes in the ongoing NRC update.
Charan Tipra revealed to the media-persons that, there are about 650 tribal villages in the valley and the total population of the hill tribal people is estimated to be around 3 lakhs. Out of which more than 70% of the population won’t be able to furnish any document to prove their citizenship. Speaking further, he said that electoral rolls of 2014 should be used to provide NRC to the people belonging to hill tribal communities.
Besides, the mes of hill tribal people are not very common and very difficult to pronounce. Hence, actual mes of hill tribal people are wrongly written in government records. As a result of which when a hill tribal person tries to compile his record, it becomes very difficult to identify their origil mes in the official documents, Charan Tipra added to say.
The members present on the meet, urged upon higher authorities concerned to look into the matter sympathetically and allow the hill tribal people of the valley to submit any available document. They further requested that Tribal Certificate should be allowed to be used as a legal document to enlist their mes in the NRC updating. The members also said that they are going to organize a mass meeting among the representatives of hilly tribal communities of the state on June 28 in Guwahati to discuss the matter.
The members present on the occasion includes Diganta Barman, vice-president of All Assam Tribal Sangha, Adim Gonmei, chairman of Rongmei Council, Sadhan Rongmei, secretary of Barak Valley Hill Tribes Association, Rajesh Hanse, president of Barak Valley Karbi Union, Thelish Mar, vice-president of Barak Valley Khasi-Pr Development Society, Zolien Hmar, president of Hmar Youth Association, S R Riang, president of Riang (Bru) Socio And Cultural Organization, Kambi Rongmei, president of All Assam Rongmei ga Students’ Union, among others.