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BJSM Slams Rajbangshi Leader Pranab Narayan Dev for ‘Derogatory’ Remarks

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KOKRAJHAR: Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) on Tuesday said that they might be compelled to take legal move against Rajbangshi leader Pranab Narayan Dev for his ‘derogatory’ remarks against them by distorting history. BJSM president Janaklal Basumatary said that Pranab Narayan Dev was riding a dead horse as he had no historical knowledge.

Basumatary said, “There is no ethnic community named Koch Rajbongshi. Koch and Rajbongshis are two separate castes. Rajbongshis are not an ethnic community. They are mixture of several communities – Palia, Ghulia, Halo and Malo. Later many low-caste Hindus joined the Rajbongshi community and some tribal community people also joined the Rajbongshi community to escape constant social degradation by high-caste Hindus.”

He said the original Koches were Tibeto- Burman origin speakers. They are a distinctly separate ethnic community. Confusion arose when the Brahmins accepted them as caste community for living the Hindu way of life. The tribal leader said the Tantra Brahmin writers, after converting the Mech kings into Hinduism, named them as Koch as they had admitted Koches to caste Hindu while Rajbongshis did not come near to that. During the times of kings, they introduced themselves as Rajbangso to gain royal favour for work and land allotment during British time in first census 1872. They were enumerated as Koch wrongly by Bengali enumerators, he said, adding that the Rajbongshis protested vehemently and they asserted that they were not Koch but Kshatriyas, probably to gain benefit as high-caste Hindu. He also said the British government promptly declared Koch and Rajbangshi as separate castes.

“After Independence, they became Sudra Rajbongshi and accepted constitutional benefits of scheduled caste reservation in West Bengal. Both Koch and Rajbangshi are separately recognized as Scheduled Castes in West Bengal and in Assam, Koch and Kshatriya Rajbangshis are separately OBC recognized. In Meghalaya, Koch is recognized as ST for being of Boro origin and Rajbangshis are general caste. Thus, nowhere there was Koch Rajbongshi community,” he said, adding that when they started demanding ST status in Assam, they abandoned Kshatriya word and added Koch for showing tribal nomenclature. But this Koch Rajbangshi term does not identify any ethnicity of community, said Basumatary.

He said ignoring this report, the Government of Assam allowed Rajbangshis to write Koch Rajbongshi only in September, 2011 and still placed them in 18 Sl. No. of Assam OBC list as Koch or Rajbangshi, not even as Koch Rajbangshi. The Assam Government, for votes, wrongfully recommended the non-ethnic community for constitutionally ST benefit although they were already enjoying more constitutional benefits as OBC, said the BJSM president and added that Rajbanshi leader Pranab Narayan did not remember the changing history of the Rajbangshis. He slammed Pranab Narayan for allegedly calling him and Dinanath Basumatary extremist writers and warned that for his derogatory remarks, Pranab Narayan might face legal action.

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