Amid Bhogali Bihu or Maghw Domashi celebrations in the state, various tribal organisations on Tuesday burned the copy of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on the Meji (bonfire).
It was to register protest against the move of the state and central governments to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six populous and advanced communities of Assam — Koch-Rajbongshis, Tai Ahoms, Morans, Motoks, Chutiyas and 36 Tea Tribes.
In Kokrajhar, the Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisations of Assam (CCTOA), a joint platform of various indigenous communities burned the copy of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 protesting the bill.
Participating in the protest, ABSU general secretary, Lorence Islary said the Central and state governments had hatched a plot to eliminate the genuine tribals of the state.
He said, “The Registrar General of India (RGI) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes had turned down such proposals eight times on the ground that these six communities do not fulfill the criteria set for enlisting a tribe as Scheduled Tribes under the Indian Constitution.”
He added that the state and central government are planning to destroy the indigenous tribal communities for their narrow political gain.
Ranjit K Borgoyary, former president of the All Assam Tribal Sangha said that if these communities were accorded Scheduled Tribe status, it would mean that all the seats in educational institutions, government offices and political institutions (whether autonomous councils or the state Assemblies) reserved for the Scheduled Tribes at present could be contested by these communities.
This will destroy the present Scheduled Tribe communities of Assam as there cannot be differential treatment for the same group of people, that is, (Scheduled Tribes) according to the Constitution.
The leaders of the committee said these communities were already notified as other backward classes (OBCs) and there was no provision to re-notify any community as tribal whose characteristics were different.