Bongaigaon, Sept. 26: The Pradip Ray faction of the All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union (Akrsu) today called a 24-hour statewide shutdown on October 1 followed by a 36-hour chakka jam on October 3 in protest against the “faulty policy” of the government on the ST issue.
The group demanded that the expert committee formed to submit a report on the matter should prepare a “transparent final modality report” on granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities in Assam before its submission on October 15.
Speaking to reporters here Ray, president of the students’ group, said the points to be included in the modality were not discussed in the meeting held with leaders of the six communities in Delhi on September 23 .
“So, if the modality published by the expert committee does not help to include Koch-Rajbongshis the ST list, the government and the leaders present in the meeting will be blamed for it,” he said.
“We were accorded ST status by the President in 1996 through an ordinance, but currently we have to fight for it along with five other ethnic groups. Among the five other ethnic groups (Moran, Muttock, Tai Ahom, Sutia and Adivasi) some have flimsy base for the ST demand for which we have to suffer and wait for new modalities,” Ray said.
Ray said if the Centre wishes to accord ST status to the state’s six communities, it should freely discuss the matter with all the groups of the six communities and tribal groups who oppose this demand in a joint meeting.
“We hope that the expert committee will make the final modality report public before its submission on October 15, so that we can put forward our opinion for and against the report,” general secretary of the student group Gokul Barman said.
The expert committee (for publishing modality), headed by special secretary (internal security) to the Union ministry of home affairs, Mahesh Kumar Singla, was formed on February 29. It was supposed to have published the report on May 31.