|Members of the All Rabha National Council protest in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, Feb. 1: The Garo National Council, Assam state zone, has demanded a change in the nomenclature of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council or the setting up of a separate council for the Garo community of Assam.
The council, in a memorandum to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, said the creation of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council had unnecessarily brought mutual suspicion, bad blood and complexities among the indigenous communities, who have lived as good neighbours for ages.
“However, the sudden creation of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, comprising Goalpara and Kamrup districts of Assam, in which many Garo villages were included without our knowledge, has brought about great dismay and disappointment among the Garos, as they were never consulted at any stage of the passing of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Act. Garos felt that their existence and aspirations have been completely ignored by the Assam government,” the three-page memorandum, released today to The Telegraph by Arbithson G. Momin, president of the GNC, Assam state zone, stated.
A GNC delegation met Assam revenue minister Bhumidhar Barman yesterday who, like Gogoi, has assured them of an amicable resolution of their grievances. The copy of the memorandum has also been sent to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union home minister P. Chidambaram.
It also said the present main cause behind the ethnic clashes between the Garos and the Rabhas was the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council. Over 40,000 Garos and Rabhas have been affected in the clashes last month.
“If the Assam government is serious and interested to solve this burning problem, then it should intervene on behalf of the Garo community for the purpose of having a permanent and amicable solution. There should be ‘no objection’ from the Garos and other communities to the name change,” the council said in the memorandum.
It also demanded that the name of the council should be changed or renamed as Tribal Autonomous Council so that a single tribal community cannot be deprived from among the four tribal communities.
“If the name of Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council is not changed, it will completely distort the Garos who are living in Kamrup and Goalpara districts. Rabha Hasong means Rabha country, it is for the Rabha community only,” the memorandum stated.
Today, the All Rabha National Council members today staged a dharna at Dispur Last Gate here demanding rehabilitation and security of those displaced by the recent riots.