The Rengma Naga Youth Organization (RNYO) has written a letter to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma seeking a consultation with the community and other non-Karbi organisations before signing of the Karbi Accord.
The letter, signed by Aga Rengma, convenor, Joshua Himb, president and Chenobu Seb, executive member of RNYO, said on February 23, 2021, around 1,000 members of the People’s Democratic Council of Karbi Longri (PDCK), Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front, Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers, Kuki Liberation Front and United Peoples’ Liberation Army laid down their arms in Guwahati.
As part of the deal with the surrendered militants, the state government and the central government agreed to fulfil their charter of demands, the letter said.
It said, on June 3, 2021, the Assam chief minister in a statement told the media that the “Karbi Peace Accord is likely to be signed in the coming week”.
“While we appreciate the peace initiative of the government as well as the militant groups which would bring down the extremism-related violence in the region, our contention and concern is the kind of demands being made by the surrendered groups,” the letter read.
“While the contents of the accord are yet to be made public it is speculated that the Accord would be like the UPDS Accord 2011 with some new demands.”
The letter said: “There is apprehension that some of the demands, being tabled are against the interest of the indigenous primary stake holders in Karbi Anglong (Besides Rengma, there are other non-Karbi stake holders too).”
“Therefore, we urge both the state government and the central government to held proper consultations with the stakeholders before signing the final Accord,” the youth body of the Rengma Nagas said.
Stating that “granting financial packages and rehabilitation to the surrendered cadres is not an issue and we support that,” the organisation said “creation of new districts/subdivisions/regional councils by bifurcating the Rengma Naga ancestral lands will not be acceptable”.
The government must tread softly here, one hasty and wrong decision can bring about enmity between the different indigenous communities who are living together peacefully, the youth organisation said.
“Peace accord is supposed to bring peace and harmony and not discord,” it added.
“It would be biased of the state and central government to even consider or entertain demands such as Autonomous state, Autonomous Territorial Council, Autonomous Regional Council, Creation of New districts bifurcating the Rengma indigenous lands or allocating/increasing reserved MAC, MLA seat to the other communities while the Rengma Nagas, the aboriginals are yet to get even a single MAC seat in the Council or even an administrative unit,” it afurther said.
The organisation questioned: “Where is the logic in declaring regional council for communities whose migration history is comparatively of recent years while the Rengma Nagas, who are sons of the soil are yet to even have their own administrative unit?”
It also questioned: “How can the state government of Assam be so inconsiderate of the people who have been the closest of friends to the Assamese people?”
The Rengma Nagas have always been there for our Assamese brothers since 1817 Burmese invasion and even before that, the RNYO said, adding, “We have fought beside you; we have shared foods and shelter.”