ST status to six communities
BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 7: Seventeen tribal organizations today opposed granting of ST status to six other communities – Koch-Rajbongshis, tea tribes, Tai Ahoms, Morans, Motoks and Chutiyas – saying it would affect communities who already enjoy the status.
This opposition comes amidst indications from the Central government that the six communities might be granted ST status in a few months' time.
“We do not support this move of the government. If the six communities are granted the same status as ours, it will affect the people who already enjoy the ST (plain) status. The government may consider other options for the betterment of the six communities, but they should not be included in the ST(plain) list,” Aditya Khaklari, general secretary of the All Assam Tribal Sangha told reporters after a joint meeting of seventeen organizations, which included the All Bodo Students Union, All Rabha Students Union, Takam Mising Porin Kebang and organizations representing the Tiwa, Sonowal Kachari, Thengal Kachari, Deori, Garo and Karbi communities.
Khaklari said government funds are not sufficient and adequate to meet the requirements of the communities already in the ST (plain) list. “If more communities are included in the list, it will affect those which are already in the list. Privileges in education, jobs and promotion enjoyed by the existing ST (plain) communities in the State will be affected if the government grants similar status to the six communities,” he said, asking the government to make public the approach and method adopted to grant ST status to the six ethnic groups.
The Registrar General of India has rejected the State government’s proposal to grant tribal status to these six communities as many as eight times in the past.
The pro-talks Ulfa is also backing the demand of the six communities.
At present, there are 29 notified Scheduled Tribes in the state, which constitute 12.8 per cent of the State’s population. Fifteen of these tribes live in the two autonomous hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong, while the rest are spread in other areas of the State. The Bodos are the largest group, comprising almost half of the state’s tribal population. Other major ST groups include Mising, Kachari, Karbi, Rabha, Lalung and Dimasa.