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Chilarai Sena warns govt over ST status

Guwahati, Dec. 7: The Chilarai Sena today threatened to take up arms if the Assam government further delays inclusion of the Koch-Rajbongshis and five other communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes (plains).

The chairman of Chilarai Sena, Bishwajit Roy, told reporters that he and other members of his organisation were disappointed when they recently met the officials of the Registrar General of India in New Delhi.

He said the officials had informed them that the registrar general refused to recommend the status of ST to six communities, including the Koch-Rajbongshis, Tai Ahoms, Chutias, Morans, Motoks and Tea and Ex-tea Tribe.

“The RGI’s refusal to grant ST status is very unfortunate,” he said.

Dispur last year submitted ethnographic report of these communities to the Union ministry of tribal affairs to consider the demand.

“We have been fighting for our demand for more than a decade now. But the Centre has not paid any attention to it so far. If such situation continues to prevail, the youths of these communities, particularly Koch-Rajbongshis, will be forced to take up arms,” Roy, who is also the adviser of All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Sanmilani, said.

Roy demanded that with the same government in power in New Delhi, the ruling Congress government in Assam must exert pressure on the Centre to grant ST status to the six communities.

“I am a little doubtful whether leaders of all the six communities would continue their fights for the issue. But my organisation is ready to shed blood for the cause. We shall overcome all hurdles. If the government does not pay heed to democratic movement in the coming days, Chilarai Sena will not hesitate to take up arms to press its demand,” he said.

Roy said there were more than 40 lakh Koch-Rajbonghis in the state who are in a pathetic state of affairs because of the reluctant nature of the government. “Chief minister Tarun Gogoi repeatedly promised the community ST status, its real status and political right. But he has failed to keep his word,” he added.

The 12-hour Assam bandh called by the Chilarai Sena on the issue today evoked mixed response. Roy claimed that the bandh was successful in many parts of Upper and lower Assam.