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Dispur balm in CBI probe
- Gogoi says government has ‘nothing to hide’

Guwahati, Dec. 1: Dispur today said it would recommend a CBI probe into the “unfortunate” incidents at Beltola in Guwahati last Saturday. It also resolved to constitute a committee of experts to make a strong case for according Scheduled Tribe status to six tribes of the state.

The steps, however, failed to assuage the sentiments of the Adivasis, whose rally on this very issue had culminated in the Beltola violence that left one dead and over 300 injured on November 24.

“The government will not only recommend the case to the CBI, but will also vigorously pursue it to ensure that it is taken up by the agency and completed as soon as possible. We also want to know what happened and who all are responsible. We have nothing to hide and no one will be spared,” chief minister Tarun Gogoi said.

He said the judicial commission and the additional chief secretary would also conduct investigations. “There may be lapses and this will be brought out by the various probes.”

Gogoi said the government-funded expert committee would have representatives recommended by the communities demanding Scheduled Tribe status.

The Congress government was the first to recommend Scheduled Tribe status for four tribes and continues to do so for others, he added.

The six tribes on Dispur’s list for ST status are the Morans, Motoks, Koch Rajbongshis, Tai Ahoms, Chutias and the Adivasis.

A core group, formed by five Adivasi organisations today, threatened to intensify its agitation if the governments did not come up with “positive steps” to accord Scheduled Tribe status to the community. The group comprises the Jharkhand Desam Party, the Adivasi Cobra Militants of Assam, the Birsa Commando Force, the All Adivasi Students Association of Assam and the All India Adivasi Youth Students Association. The group urged Delhi to table a bill on according Scheduled Tribe status to the tribes in the current session of Parliament by December 7, following a meeting on December 3.

Plea for peace: Dispur appealed to all the organisations not to call any bandh or blockade between December 3 and 20 as it would disrupt school examinations.

The People’s Committee for Peace Initiatives in Assam, a conglomerate of organisations backing the Ulfa-Delhi peace process, has also appealed for peace and harmony.

It urged Dispur to hold a round-table conference with all tribal organisations to sort out their demands. Lachit Bordoloi, PCPIA chief coordinator, cautioned that if the grievances of the tribal communities were not addressed, the state could witness more violence. Mintu Borpatragohain, the general secretary of Matak Yuva Chatra Parishad, which is a part of the conglomerate, sought relief measures for the victims of the Adivasi backlash.

The AGP today demanded the resignation of chief minister Tarun Gogoi for the Beltola carnage. AGP (Progressive) president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta met President Pratibha Patil and home minister Shivraj Patil in Delhi to seek central intervention.

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