May 3: The All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS) and All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu) today vowed to fight jointly to protect the tribal belts in Assam.
The two organisations today held a meeting, presided over by AATS president Ranjit Kumar Borgoyary, at Tribal Rest House in Guwahati and discussed several issues, including protection of land of indigenous communities.
“Today is an important day for us as both the organisations have joined hands to protect the interests of the tribals,” AATS general secretary Aditya Khakhlari told reporters in Guwahati.
Absu president Promode Boro said the issue of land was very sensitive. “There is a conspiracy to grab tribal land by driving the tribal people away,” he said.
The two organisations said many indigenous people in the state did not have land patta. They urged the state government to find out a simple formula to grant patta to them. “The state government should immediately implement the Scheduled Tribe Forest Dweller/Other Traditional Forest Dweller (Recognition of Forest Right) Act, 2006, to grant land patta to the traditional tribal forest dwellers,” Khakhlari said.
The meeting also discussed the deprivation of SC/STs in being promoted to the post of executive engineer in the public works department (PWD) and the alleged anomaly in appointment of subject teachers by the directorate of secondary education, Assam.
The meeting expressed concern over the rehabilitation of riot-affected people in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) without scrutiny of documents. “We demand rehabilitation of the riot-affected only after proper scrutiny so that no outsider is rehabilitated,” Khakhlari said.
They also alleged that the reservation policy was not followed in the recent results of the Assam Public Service Commission.
They also demanded a review of selection of candidates for promotion so that the backlog vacancies of SCs and STs in promotion could be filled up by a special drive under Section 5A (viii) of the SCs & STs (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Posts) (Amendment) Act 2012.
The organisations demanded a detailed inquiry into the anomaly in selection of higher secondary subject teachers and asked the state education department to be duty bound in following reservation policy.
The meeting stated that the PWD has promoted 14 general category assistant executive engineer to the post of executive engineer on April 25, 2013, violating the Assam SCs & STs (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Posts) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
“According to the reservation policy, promotion of officers shall be subject to the clearance of the welfare of plains tribes and backward classes department. But surprisingly, the PWD has de-reserved those posts without prior concurrence of the former. The director of secondary education has also selected 23 subject teachers for appointment, de-reserving all the posts reserved for SC and ST, violating the existing rules,” said Khakhlari.
The meeting criticised tribal ministers and legislators for not doing enough for the people they represent.