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Government's move to accord ST status to 41 communities unconstitutional: BJSM

Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) has asserted that the State WPT&BC Minister Chandan Brahma was going to

Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  17 Sep 2020 2:16 AM GMT

OUR CORRESPONDENT

KOKRAJHAR: Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) has asserted that the State WPT&BC Minister Chandan Brahma was going to consider ST categorization of 41 non-notified communities of Assam for his political interest.

In a statement, the president of BJSM, Janaklal Basumatary said the creation of Kamatapur Autonomous Council (KAC), Moran and Matak autonomous councils and recommendation of 41 communities for ST status was being done by minister Chandan Brahma for political and personal interest. He said the move of Brahma was neither constitutional nor legal. He said that the recommendation of six turned 41 communities of Assam for ST status was in violation of Article 342(1) (2) of the Constitution and without justification.

"The existing ST communities need constitutional protection but the OBC beneficiaries do not require for protection. If the OBC beneficiaries get ST status, the interests of the existing ST communities will be adversely affected," he said, adding that the Central Government had directed them to distribute ST quota to these 41 communities without affecting the interest of the existing Scheduled Tribes (Plains) of Assam. He said the Group of Ministers could not justify the ST quota distribution to these 41 OBC communities without affecting the interest of the existing STs. So the Group of Ministers, under chairmanship of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, was not competent to comply the constitutional provision of distribution of ST constitutional benefit quota without harming the interest of the existing ST communities of Assam.

Basumatary said that the 36 tea communities were not communities of Assam, they had all migrated from different States of India as contractual labour workers in tea gardens of Assam. "The State Government can recommend only the community of the State, not the migrated community under Article 342 (1) of the Constitution. The recommendation of State Government for these 36 communities is unconstitutional," he said.

"The recommendation of Koch Rajbongshi is also unconstitutional as Koch and Rajbongshi are distinctly separate castes. They are not same ethnic community. So there cannot be a community by the name Koch Rajbongshi. In the original OBC list in Assam, both Koch and Rajbongshi were enlisted separately. There cannot be a community by the name of Koch Rajbongshi. So the State Government cannot recommend for ST status a community which is not community under Article 342 (1) of the Constitution," he said.

Basumatary said the recommendation of Ahom, Chutiya, Maran and Matak were also constitutionally not justified. He said none of them were single separate ethnic communities, all were heterogeneous mixed communities, none retained their traditional characteristics, they all completely assimilated with the Assamese community, adopting the Assamese language, culture, religion, social customs, dress, festivals and dance. So the State Government cannot recommend them for ST status.

Basumatary said that the 41 communities cover more than half of the total communities of Assam and all are OBC quota beneficiaries. "What is the need to bring bill to grant ST status to them just before election. It is certainly not for benefit of the communities but for the benefit of the political parties in power for votes. No constitutional benefit can be granted to anybody for benefit of political parties," he added.

"No autonomous council can be created in non-tribal general area which is governed by panchayat for local self-administration. So the creation of Kamatapur Autonomous Council (KAC), Moran and Matak autonomous councils is unconstitutional and cannot be operative," Basumatary said, adding that the Government of Assam was taking anti-tribal policies for political benefit.

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