Tribal coordination committee opposes ST status for six Assam communities

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Guwahati: The coordination committee of the tribal organization of Assam (CCTOA), which has been opposing the move to grant Schedule Tribe status to six communities of the state, urged the central government not to proceed in this regard.

Six communities of the state – Koch Rajbongshi, Moran, Matak, Tai Ahom, Chutia, and Adivasi (tea tribes) – have been demanding ST status.

The representatives of the coordination committee also proposed to sit in a tripartite meeting before the final decision.

Aditya Khaklari, chief convener of the forum and general secretary of the All Assam Tribal Sangha, said that granting ST status to the communities living in the plains will spark trouble across the country.

Earlier, the Centre had set up a committee headed by Mahesh Kumar Singla, special secretary (internal security), Union ministry of home affairs, to recommend the modalities for granting of Scheduled Tribe status to the six communities.

“According to the Constitution, these communities cannot be granted the ST status. The communities do not fulfil the criteria to be Scheduled Tribes. For that, the Constitution has to be amended. It will only create more trouble across the country. Then everyone will ask for the ST status. We want them to give the OBC status and, if needed, provide other facilities like political reservation,” said Khaklari, addressing a press conference here on Saturday.

The committee shall, in consultation with the Assam government, suggest the modalities for the required reservations, of shifting the existing reservation for these communities from OBC to ST, protecting the interests of existing tribes, a mechanism to ensure fairness of reservations within these six communities, and related security considerations.

The committee will submit its report by May 31 this year.


News Courtesy: The Times of India, May 29, 2016

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