The Udalguri unit of the All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU) on Tuesday opposed the creation of an autonomous council for the Koch Rajbongshis, excluding BTAD and the Rabha Hasong areas.

The Assam Cabinet, chaired by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on Sunday decided to create a separate autonomous council for the Koch-Rajbongshis who are residing in undivided Goalpara district excluding BTAD and Rabha Hasong areas.

“A new autonomous council for Koch Rajbongshi community (Kamatapur Autonomous Council) residing in original Goalpara district excluding BTAD and Rabha Hasong area will be constituted,” a government notification said.

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Talking to media persons, Udalguri (West) AKRSU president Hemanta Bora Koch, said on Tuesday, “We have been democratically raising our voice for the creation of separate Kamatapur state and grant of ST status to Koch-Rajbongshis living in Assam.”

“But the Assam Cabinet’s decision for the creation of the Kamatapur Autonomous Council is a grave insult to the community,” Koch told reporters at the press conference in Chilarai Bhawan at Tangla in Udalguri district on Tuesday.

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Koch said, “The Cabinet decision comes at a time when the tripartite talks with the government for grant of ST status to the community is on its last legs and it is clear that the Cabinet decision is a ploy of the government to douse the movement of the Koch-Rajbongshis and deprive us of our rights,” Koch added.

He further said, “The formation of such a council was never a part of the tripartite talks and we vehemently oppose the creation of such council which caters to serve only the people of undivided Goalpara district whereas the Koch-Rajbongshis are living across Assam.”

Koch also exhorted the government to look into the genuine issues plaguing the community and expedite the process to grant ST status to the community and create a separate Kamatapur state for the welfare and development of the community having a rich legacy.

The students’ body also slammed the Assam government for its move to exclude BTAD in making Assamese the state language by appealing the Centre to get Article 345 of the Constitution amended.

“Cabinet resolves that Government of India may by amending Article 345 of the Constitution declare Assamese as the State language of Assam,” the government notification said.

“However, Barak Valley, BTAD area and Hill districts have been excluded from it,” the notification added.

The student leader further said, “Koch-Rajbongshis are united and the divide and rule policy of the ruling party cannot diffuse the voices. We will launch democratic protests if the government forms any such council without resolving the issue of ST status.”

Shajid Khan

Shajid Khan is Northeast Now Correspondent in Udalguri. He can be reached at: itsshajidkhan@gmail.com