Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday, while calling for development and inclusiveness of the tea tribes community, raised once again the bogey of threat posed to the  Assamese culture and civilization by a “community” which had grown in number in strength in the past  15 years or so.

Sarma stressed that the tea tribe community which had given their toil to bolstering Assam’s economy should not be looked on as outsiders from other states of India but should be considered as indigenous.

” On the other hand a particular group of people residing mostly in areas of  Lower and Central following a united way of life and different culture, and having grown from 27 per cent to 35 per cent are a greater threat and by all means should be stalled from grabbing power in Dispur as this would sound the knell of the Assamese culture and civilization, ” he said

The Minister, while speaking in the second and concluding day of the two-day executive meet of State Tea Morcha of Assam Pradesh BJP at the auditorium of the District Library here, said that divisions prevailing in the Assamese society in the name of different groups and communities and also due to classifications made as indigenous and non-indigenous, prevented the formation of a strong Assamese society.

Blaming a section of the intellectuals for creating and promoting  divisions in the Assamese society, the Minister voiced his apprehension that the 65 percent comprising native people of Assam, if they divided like in the present times, will be losing all their rights like political, cultural,  societal and others in coming times.

He said that BJP was for uniting together all native tribes and groups to form a strong Assamese society and will was pledge-bound to defeat the “divisive forces” that were coming in the way binding the Assamese society and making it stronger.

Sarma took a dig at the Congress and AIUDF for practicing politics of divisions in the society. He asked the party workers to work hard and take a pledge to unite the Assamese society.

The Minister admitted that the tea tribes community had been neglected since independence and that they were not yet  assimilated in the Assamese society. He urged all sections of the society to regard tea tribes as indigenous Assamese people and promote them in the international flora.

Stating that BJP was not treating the tea tribes as a vote-bank, he said  that a series of welfare measures for uplifting the tea workers was initiated by the BJP-led Governments at the Centre and in Assam since the party came to power, Sarma said and that such initiatives will be continuing.

He spoke about reserving 10 per cent seats for students of tea workers’ community in colleges located in areas having dominant tea tribes population.

He further said that apart from the Rs 5000 which the government had deposited in the 7.69 lakh bank accounts of the workers, another Rs 3000 would be put in soon.

He further said that work on 119 high schools in tea community populated areas would start from November 1 and 2 and be completed in six months, so that the children could complete their studies without travelling great distances.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: