In unison with the protests by various sections of people and organizations regarding the land rights of the non-tribals living in BTAD, Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Santiuse Kujur has also raised serious concern over the issue.
Kujur also vehemently opposed the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) executive council’s decision to bar people living in the council area from selling their land to any non-tribal in the BTC area.
The Assam Rajya Sabha MP Kujur has also written letters to President Ram Nath Kovind and Assam Governor, Jagdish Mukhi seeking their intervention into the matter.
In his letters Kujur stated that the tribal belts and blocks were created under the provisions of Chapter X of the Assam
Land and Land Revenue Regulation Act, 1886, as amended in 1947, for the purpose of protecting the backward and aboriginal indigenous people of Assam.
The act clearly states of land rights of the protected class of people , such as Santhal, Koch Rajbongshi, Nath Yogis,among others, whom the BTC Cabinet has considered as non-tribals in the BTC area.
Moreover, the letters by Kujur who was formerly an Executive Council of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) stated that BTC Accord 2003 clearly mentions that the land rights of people irrespective of tribals and non-tribals residing in BTC prior to 2003 would remain unaffected, and it should be implemented in letter and spirit.
Talking to Northeast Now over phone, he termed the cabinet decision of BTC as ‘one-sided and autocratic’ which violates the fundamental rights of the people in the BTAD region.
“The hypocrisy of the BTC administration lies in the fact that they speak of equal rights, equal dignity to every section of people, but adopt policies dividing people as tribals and non-tribals,” he said.
Kujur further added that such move is a pre-planned one for cornering the non-tribals and pushing them out of the region.
“If the decision is not withdrawn there is every possibility of creating disturbances among the indigenous communities residing peacefully in the BTC region,” he further added.
He also informed of taking legal recourse if the decision is not withdrawn, which could affect about 70 per cent of the population staying in Bodoland.
The BTC Executive Council on January 12 this year had unanimously decided that no tribal or non-tribal can sell his/her land to any non-tribal in the BTC area without the permission of the BTC authority.
It also decided that protected class of people as defined in Chapter X of Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886, such as Santhal, Koch Rajbongshi, Nath Yogis, among others, would be considered as non-tribals in the BTC area.