Clause 6 does not cover ST (Hills): ASDC tells High Power panel

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‘Non-tribals should not be allowed to contest polls, not even to vote’

HT Bureau

DIPHU, Nov 6: While demanding separate measure to safeguard the Schedule Tribe (Hills) people of the state, the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) on Wednesday said the Clause 6 of Assam Accord does not cover the Karbis, Dimasas and other hill tribes of Assam.

“Since Clause 6 of Assam Accord mentioned about Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people, it does not cover the Karbi, Dimasa and other hill tribes. Therefore, separate measures have to be taken for protection of the hill tribes or Clause 6 has to be legally interpreted as to include the hill tribes apart from the Assamese people. There should be reservation of seats in the Assembly and other local bodies for tribals as well besides the Assamese people”, the ASDC said in a memorandum to High Power Committee on Clause 6 of Assam Accord.

The High Power Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to implement Clause 6 of 1985 Assam Accord with former Gauhati High Court judge Justice (retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma as chairman on July 16, last.

A delegation of ASDC led by president Holiram Terang and vice president Chandra Kanta Terang met the HPC in Guwahati on November 2.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the committee on September 19. The ASDC also submitted its views to the state department of Assam Accord implementation on January 28, 2008”, ASDC president and former minister Holiram Terang said here on Wednesday.

“Karbis, Dimasa and other hill tribes had never been under the Ahom rule and even the British designated the hill areas as Backward Tract, Excluded Area, Partially Excluded Area” etc keeping its presence at the minimum. Hence, the hill areas not had ever been in Assam. The people too cannot be categorised under the term Assamese,” Terang said.

“The Committee also wanted to know about the political rights of other non-indigenous citizens. The ASDC gave its opinion that those citizens should not be given the right to contest or even vote. As to the question of reservation of seats in elected bodies, it was opined that it should be proportioned to the size of the population amongst the indigenous people”, he said.

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