No Adivasi village can be included in BTR: AASAA tells PM

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HT Bureau

DIPHU, Feb 3: All Adivasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA) has opposed the move of the Centre and state government for inclusion of Adivasi villages into the proposed Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).

In a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner, Karbi Anglong District Committee of AASAA said no Adivasi village should be included into the territory of proposed BTR.

“We demand protection of our land within BTR and Assam,” the memorandum signed by Karbi Anglong AASAA president Sunil Dungdung said.

“We demand the Adivasi Autonomous Satellite Council all over Assam. We also demand constitutional safeguard as indigenous community in the state under Clause VI of Assam Accord,” the memorandum said.

The student body also demanded for inclusion of the Adivasis into the list of Schedule Tribe (ST) for overall development of the community.

It regretted that the community has not been granted ST status inspite of fulfilling all the criteria for it.

“inspite of our forefathers living in Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal have been enjoying the benefits of tribals, the government has not granted tribal status to the Adivasis living in Assam,” the memorandum submitted by Karbi Anglong AASAA president Sunil Dungdung said.

“Inspite of fulfilling all the criteria of our tribal characteristics, inspite of our enormous contribution to the economy of Assam, to foreign exchange of India through the production of tea, inspite of our contribution to the political stability and above all- inspite of being Indian citizens we are deprived of out tribal status in Assam and other parts of India,” the memorandum said.

“AASAA strongly placed our only and genuine demand for ST status to the community in Assam at the earliest,” the memorandum said.

“If the government fails to grant ST status to us within the ongoing budget session of Parliament, the AASAA will go for a year long agitation like rail blockade, tea garden bandh, road-cum-economic blockade and drastic agitations like naked and self emulation agitation all over Assam,” the memorandum further said.

“We also demand Rs 350 as daily wage to the tea gardens workers,” it added.

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