In a joint statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), the Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples North East Zone (ICITP-NEZ), North East Indigenous Indian Mongolian Peoples’ Cultural Organisation (NEIIMPCO) and the South West Khasi Students’ Union (SW-KSU) have demanded that under Article 244 (A) of the Constitution, an Autonomous State for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao should be created.
The joint statement, signed by Jones Ingti Kathar, Coordinator, NEIIMPCO; Jebra Ram Muchahary, President, ICITP-NEZ and Morning Star Sumer, Advisor, SW-KSU, was submitted in the 17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), UN Headquarters in New York on April 17, 2018.
In the joint statement, the leaders of the three organizations said, “The Indigenous Peoples of North East India such as Khasis, Karbis, Boros, Twiprasas, Dimasas, Nagas, Rabhas, Garos, Hmars and other tribes have their own territories and kings since time immemorial. In order to protect their land, language, culture and traditions, during framing of Indian Constitution from 1946 to 1950, the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India was passed and proclaimed on 26th January 1950. Under this Constitution autonomous power to makes laws on land and other subjects under paragraph 1, 2 (7) and Paragraph 3, 4 and 20 were given for protection of territories. But the government eroded Autonomous power of the Autonomous Territorial Councils by passing contradictory laws. Paragraph 2(7) has not been implemented and instead laws for transfer of land of the indigenous people have been passed in 1953 and 1959.”
They recommended that the “anti-indigenous peoples’ land laws must be repealed and the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India must be implemented in letter and in spirit”.
The joint statement said: “Under Article 244 (A) of the Constitution an Autonomous State for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao should be created, but the government has not implemented. The Autonomous States for the Karbis and the Dimasas must be created immediately.”
The NEIIMPCO, ICITP-NEZ and SW-KSU leaders also stated that the protected tribal belts and blocks in Assam are certain regions which were regulated under Chapter 10 of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 by the British Government as belts and blocks which were later on implemented by the Assam Government in 1947 by creating 47 tribal belts and blocks for protection of the land of the indigenous tribes, “but these tribal belts and blocks have not been protected and are now encroached upon and grabbed by non-indigenous peoples.”
They demanded that the tribal belts and blocks in Assam should be restored.
“Since the beginning of uranium ore mining controversy in the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, India, successive governments have failed to satisfy us that they, or anyone else, can prevent or forestall the disastrous occurrences that would eventually lead to the things that we fear most: the miserable existence and slow, painful and untimely death of our succeeding generations and the consequent extinction of our race within a few hundred years,” the leaders of the three organizations stated.
The organizations also urged the UNPFII to intervene the government to stop the uranium mining in Khasi Hills.”