KOKRAJHAR: Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM) on Saturday expressed fear and apprehension that the State cabinet's decision to include Gorkhas as indigenous community could increase the migration of Gorkhas in the four BTC districts.
The president of BJSM, Janaklal Basumatary on Saturday said that constitutionally the government could not decide anything which could harm the rights of the existing Scheduled Tribes (ST) by adding more migrant or non-ST communities in indigenous category.
Basumatary said, "The present decision of the Assam cabinet to include Gorkhas as protected class in four districts of BTC and Sadiya tribal belt is harming the protected land rights of existing Scheduled Tribe residents. Originally the Nepali graziers- cultivators were included as protected class in tribal belts and blocks in Assam in original notification in 6.12.1947. But the Government of Assam denotified them as protected class in tribal belt and block in Assam in 1969," he said, adding that they were not protected class before the creation of BTC in 2003 and there was no reason or justification to include them as protected class in tribal belts and blocks of BTC and the Sadiya tribal belt, harming the protected land rights of the existing Scheduled Tribes by changing the nomenclature of the community as Gorkhas.
He said that Gorkhas were not same as Nepali graziers. They were British soldiers who came to Digboi and Ledu area for fighting the World War II in 1945 on behalf of the British and stayed back in Assam after the World War in 1945. Therefore, they are not indigenous people of Assam as well as the Northeast and the government had no reason to include them as protected class in the tribal protected land simply to give them land transaction right in protected tribal land, he said. He also said that the move was against the constitutional safeguard to weaker sections of society.
Basumatary also expressed apprehension that if the Gorkhas were given protected class status in BTC tribal protected land, there would be more migration of Gorkhas from Nepal and other places causing demographic problem by increasing population in protected tribal land.