By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 18: Now the Kalitas are also in the lineup for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status in Assam. The Kalita Jagosthi Sanmilan, Asom has come up with such a demand.
Talking to newsmen in the city today, leaders of the Sanmilan said: “Organizations in the state like the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), various political parties and apolitical organizations have always been treating the 74 lakh Kalitas in the state as third grade citizens. While discussing problems afflicting the indigenous ethnic people of the state, the problems afflicting the Kalitas are never raised. Of late, many political parties and organizations are ready to provide ST status to six ethnic groups minus the Kalitas in the state. They are even ready to declare Assam a tribal state. How come they don’t take the problems which the Kalitas are facing into account while making such decisions? This has proved it beyond doubt that they have all along been using the Kalitas as a means to get their political aspirations fulfilled.”
The Sanmilan today appealed to all organizations and political parties of the state to take steps to solve the problems of the Kalitas, failing which, it said, it would not hesitate to go to any extent to get the demands of the Kalitas met.
The Sanmilan today raised a slew of demands, including grant of ST status to the Kalitas of the state, reming the bridge over the Brahmaputra at Bogibeel after Martyr Maniram Dewan and ming the bridge connecting Jalukbari and North Guwahati after Bhagadutta and institution of a chair in Gauhati University after Dr. Bani Kanta Kakati.
It is worth mentioning here that on April 10 this year, the CPI had sung the same tune orchestrated by late Comrade Promode Gogoi some 15 years back, and said in no uncertain terms that ‘in order to solve the problems of foreigners and illegal infiltration into Assam from across the intertiol borders, the best option at hand is to give ST status to six ethnic groups demanding ST status in the state and declare Assam as a tribal state under Article 371(A), treading in galand’s footsteps.’
Talking to newsmen in Guwahati recently, newly-elected secretary of the State Committee of the CPI, Comprede Drupad Borgohain, reiterated: “...The six backward ethnic groups demanding ST status – Tai Ahom, Moran, Muttack, Cbhutia, Koch-Ranjbongshi and Tea Tribe – should be given ST status as that will raise the ST population in the State up to 60 per dent, a criterion that is a must to declare a state as a tribal state. The next step should be declaration of Assam as a tribal state under Article 371(A) following the footsteps of galand. Such a step will solve the problem of foreigners at ease, as in a tribal state, none other than the indigenous people of the state can own or purchase lands. Such a step will certainly keep the threat of the indigenous people of Assam being alieted on their own land at bay.”