The Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) has heavily come down on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government at the Centre for its decision to bestow Scheduled Tribes (Hills) ST (H) status to the Bodos living in the hill districts of Assam viz., Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.
ASDC and frontal organisations – Karbi Students’ Association (KSA) and Karbi Nimso Chingthur Asong (KNCA) – will hold protest demonstration at Semson Sing Ingti Memorial Park in Diphu on November 12 next to protest against the said decision.
In a Press conference held at the ASDC office in Diphu, former minister and ASDC’s president Holiram Terang said that the BJP “cannot be allowed to grant a single tribe (read the Bodos) the right to enjoy dual benefits of ST (Plains) (P) and ST (H).”
He further stated, “The said decision will have far-reaching consequences on the other tribes and cannot be the individual decision of a political party. We have approached the Chief Executive Member (CEM), Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), Tuliram Ronghang, to protest against the move of the Centre to grant ST (H) status to the Bodos. We have asked him to lead the protest and call an all-party meeting in this regard. Though he has not said in the negative, but he is dragging his feet over the whole matter. We cannot wait any longer.”
ASDC leader and former CEM Jotson Bey said, “The Centre playing footsie to the armed groups cannot be condoned. Granting of ST (H) status to the Bodos living in the hill districts of Assam is as per the wish of the then rebel group Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT). If New Delhi kowtows to armed rebels, then every other individual will take up arms so that their demands are met.”
The Press note handed over at the Press conference read, “The BJP-led Government’s repeated attempt to grant ST-Hills status to the Bodos is politically motivated. This is a sinister design to gradually exterminate the already marginalised hill tribes – Karbi, Dimasa, Garo, Hmar, Kukis, Khasi, Jaintia, Man (Tai-speaking) and Nagas, etc. Granting ST-Hills status to Bodos will make Article 330(I) (b) (c) of the Constitution that reserves seats for the Schedule Tribes of the Autonomous Districts (Hill Tribes) severely diluted. The very constitutional mechanism of protecting the more insular and more backward hill tribes will be eroded making the hill tribes vulnerable to being dominated by the Bodos. The lone Parliamentary seat and all the Assembly seats in the hills will no longer remain exclusive to the 15 hill tribes. The hill tribes shall have to complete with the educationally more advanced Bodos for Government jobs and seats in Government educational institutions. This will also affect in Government job promotions.”