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Sarbanda under fire

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

ST status to six communities: ATASU-AKRSU accuse Union minister of ‘double standards’

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Aug 1: Six ethnic groups in the State demanding ST status have trained their guns at Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal, accusing him of "double standards".

"On one hand, he claims to be backing the demand of the six communities, on the other he is encouraging moves to sabotage it, spearheaded by groups like the Tribal Sangha," All Tai Ahom Students Union president Pranjal Rajkonwar and All Koch Rajbongshi Students Union president Biswajit Rai told a joint press conference here.

Questioning Sonowal's presence at the semir organized by the Tribal Sangha in New Delhi yesterday, Rajkonwar said if the BJP leader "continues to play politics on the issue, his party will face the consequences in the 2016 assembly elections."

The day-long semir held at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi opposed the move to grant ST status to the six communities, resolving to ask the government to justify its actions and guarantee the rights of the other tribes of the State.

"The BJP was successful in the Lok Sabha elections due to the support of the six communities who were assured ST status within six months of coming to power. But it has been more than a year now, and the issue still continues to linger," the ATASU and AKRSU said.

Alleging that Sonowal was trying to create a divide between indigenous communities, the two student leaders also expressed confusion over the August 6 meeting convened in New Delhi.

"No one is sure as to who has convened the meeting. Some aides of Sonowal are calling up our members and inviting them for the meeting," they said.

The ATASU and AKRSU leader also challenged the claims of some tribal organizations that the six communities do not meet the criteria stipulated by the RGI for granting of ST status. "If we do not qualify, many tribal communities also do not qualify," they said.

The ATASU and AKRSU threatened to boycott the BJP if the six communities are not granted ST status within this year.

The six communities being considered for ST status include Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Maran, Matak and Adivasi.

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