KOKRAJHAR: Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) on Monday expressed strong resentment over the move to give some communities indigenous status and questioned as to why the government was looking for this status only in BTC tribal belts and blocks?
The president of the BJSM, Janaklal Basumatary, in reply to the Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha's (KRJM) appeal to the government to include other indigenous communities of BTC as protected class in tribal belts and blocks of BTC, questioned as to why the demand was confined to BTR only and not all over Assam ? He said that other indigenous communities which were enjoying OBC benefit could not get protected class status in the tribal belts and blocks and tribal protected land area, because by OBC status they are given reservation for development and welfare of their community, not protection whereas Scheduled Tribes are given reservation for protection, promotion, development and welfare of their community. "OBCs are not included in the protected class in tribal protected land tribal belt and block provided in Chapter -X of the Assam land law," he said.
A very restricted category of indigenous Koch Rajbongshi OBC are notified as protected class in undivided Goalpara district and now Dhubri, Goalpara and Kokrajhar in 1985 and Bongaigaon in 1990, he said, adding the word indigenous was put purposefully to mean only the indigenous permanent residents of this districts. He also said some individuals of the indigenous tribes like Boro, Garo, Rabha, Lalung and Modahi when converted to Rajbongshi were called indigenous Koch Rajbongshi and these indigenous Koch Rajbongshis are notified as protected class in the tribal belts and blocks of these districts of undivided Goalpara but they do not include the Rajbongshi or Khatriya Rajbongshi migrated from West Bengal or East Bengal, now Bangladesh, as these Rajbongshis or Khatriya Rajbongshis were not Koch.
"The other OBC beneficiaries like Tai Ahom, Chutiya, Moran and Motok also do not require protection as they merged socio economically, culturally, linguistically and politically with mainstream community. So they cannot be included as protected class in tribal belt and block of plains of Assam," he said.
"Similarly, Gorkhas are not a community of Assam. They are a community of Nepal. They were soldiers who came to Assam for fighting in the Second World War on behalf of the British Government in 1945 and after the war, they stayed back in Assam. Gorkhas do not qualify for protected class in tribal belt and blocks," said Basumatary.
Basumatary said that the government could not make them protected class by harming the right to protection of the land right of existing Scheduled Tribes in tribal belt block. Hence the government has to reverse the decision to include Gorkhas as protected class in tribal belt block of BTC and Sadiya tribal belt, he added. He also said the government should reverse the decision to include the Tai Ahoms, Chutiyas, Morans and Motoks as protected class in the Sadiya tribal belt.