The district committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Monday staged dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Goalpara and demanded inclusion of the names of the Garo, Hajong, Koch, Dalu and Banai communities residing in Goalpara district in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“The Garo, Hajong, Koch, Dalu and Banai communities were given Relief Eligibility Certificate (REC) in the year 1964 and were settled in various places of Goalpara district by the Government of India. Arrangement of ration was also made available to them by the Government,” informed Nani Das, district secretary, CPI-M.
“Among these communities, the Hajong, Dalu, Koch and Banai have already embraced Assamese culture and mother tongue. However, they were never given patta against their land. Though, based upon the same documents, after few years, their names were also included in the voters’ list,” said Das.
“But as the Supreme Court recently declined to treat refugee certificate as a valid document for inclusion name in NRC and dropped it along with other four documents, these people are in great fear now,” he added.
Das also said, “As they were settled by the Government, it must come forward to their rescue from this fear-psychosis.”
He also informed that they submitted a memorandum to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on September 17 and staged sit-in protest before the Assam Assembly on October 4 demanding solution to the problems of these ethnic people living in the State prior to 1971.
There are 30,000 people in the district who belong to these communities. They are scattered in areas like Matia, Sidabari, Camp Bazar Bhatipara, Sri Suryagiri Dosobhuja, Khardang, Mejengpara, Sesapani, Dhaigaon and Tinikonia.
The CPI-M leaders also demanded that special rules be framed by the Government for inclusion of the names of the people from these communities in the NRC update process of which is going on as they are from ethnic tribes and their problems are not similar with the religious and linguistic minority people.
On the other hand, the problem of the Garo people coming from the neighbouring Meghalaya State is same.
“As the Garo people follow the matriarch culture, they came down to Assam as son-in-law or ‘Jamai’. They also don’t have valid documents except a certificate from their local community leader. But they are also genuine Indians and unfortunately dropped from the NRC,” said Nani Das.
To draw attention of the people of the rest of the State, the CPI-M has decided to address the media on Tuesday at Guwahati Press Club.