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Protest over council move

Sivasagar, April 22: Thousands of people belonging to several non-Mising organisations took out a rally here on Monday protesting the inclusion of non-Mising-dominated villages in the Mising Autonomous Council (MAC).

More than 5,000 protesters shouted slogans as they assembled outside the deputy commissioner’s office here. “We will give blood, but not land”, they chanted.

The district administration had proposed the names of 38 villages in two development blocks of Sivasagar district in the draft notification for organisation of the Dehing-Desang constituency of the MAC. The notification was issued on April 5, sparking protests from various organisations and non-Mising residents of the villages. A massive procession was also taken out by the All Tai Ahom Students Union (ATASU)’s Dhemaji district unit over the issue.

The protesters gheraoed the deputy commissioner’s office for two hours, broke the main gate and entered the office to submit a memorandum to the chief minister through the DC. Sixteen of the 36 MACs fall in Dhemaji district. Hundreds of non-Mising villages have been included in the MACs in Dhemaji district, resulting in the protest. There are 1,160 villages in Dhemaji.

ATASU adviser Aswini Chetia claimed that most of the villages included in the MAC were dominated by non-Misings. “In some villages, there are only 15-20 per cent Mising voters,” he claimed.

“According to the voter list, 83.4 per cent voters in Demowmukh village are non-Misings. Similarly, Dighal Doria has 85.3 per cent, Lepaigaon has 65.6 per cent and Alisiga has 79.9 per cent non-Mising voters. Many of the other villages proposed to be included in the MAC constituency have a majority of non-Mising voters,” Chetia said in Sivasagar. He added that only those villages should be included in autonomous councils that have at least 50 per cent of the particular community.

“A section of government officials has intentionally included the names of non-Mising-dominated villages in the MAC constituency,” he alleged.

The organisation has alleged that Union minister of state for tribal affairs Rani Narah, her husband and Congress leader Bharat Narah and state minister Rajib Lochan Pegu were behind the move.

Manoj Gogoi, ATASU Dhemaji district president, said if the government did not take any measures to resolve the issue, the student union would intensify its protests in the all the nine districts.

Additional reporting by Pranab Kumar Das in Tezpur