KOKRAJHAR: In a blow to Koch Rajbongshis, the president of All Assam Koch Association (AAKA), PrabashBanai has demanded the Government of Assam (GoA) not to include Koch Rajbongshi in the ST list but to include only Koch.
Talking to reporters at Kokrajhar on Thursday, the president of the AAKA, PrabashBanai said that there was no community by the name of Koch Rajbongshi in Assam and as per history only Koch existed. He said the Rajbongshis who converted to Kshtriya Brahmins had mostly migrated from West Bengal and Bangladesh and were demanding ST status and Kamatapur state in the name of Koch Rajbongshi. But this was not a justified demand.
Accusing the Rajbongshis of distorting and misinterpreting the Koch history for their selfish motives, Banai said the Koches of Meghalaya were included in ST list and were enjoying constitutional rights and privileges but in Assam they were not recognized and included in ST category under the name 'Koch' but were given ST status as 'Rabha'. He said the Koch community had six clans and giving them ST status with Rabha caste had diluted their great historical identity. He strongly demanded that the Government of Assam should accord ST status to them as Koch community but not as Rabha which was only a sub clan of the great Koch family.
Claiming themselves as having 70 lakh population across the State, Banai said the Government of Assam should not ignore their demands as they were genuinely ethnic tribe of the State. He also demanded that the Government of Assam should stop listening to only the demands of the Koch Rajbongshi community which was a non-existent community. He warned that they would not sit idle any more if their history was distorted. He cautioned the State Government to give attention to them before the 2021 general assembly election, failing which they were ready to give a fitting reply. On the distortion of Koch history by Rajbongshis, Banai said the Koch people had their own identity, language, culture, tradition, dress and characteristics but the Rajbongshis had no distinct identity, language, culture and dresses. Going through all differences, Banai said that the Koches and Rajbongshis were never from the same family.