Failure of Assamese people to develop brotherhood with the Karbis and Dispurís highhandedness were what made the Karbis seek an immediate implementation of Article 244 (A) of the Constitution and then a separate state when the State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) is formed, says Bijoy Teron, chief convener of Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State in conversation with Pranab Bora and Rajiv Konwar of The Telegraph.
Excerpts from the interview
The Telegraph: What do you have to say about the demand for a separate Bokajan by Bokajan State Demand Committee?
Bijoy Teron: One or two persons are demanding a separate Bokajan. Other non-Karbis have opposed it saying it is not the demand of all the non-Karbis of Karbi Anglong.
TT: The Bokajan State Demand Committee says non-Karbis in Bokajan had been asked to vacate Karbi Anglong and been deprived of transferring land rights to their children.
BT: See the land records and you will know whichever communities have lived in Karbi Anglong for years been given pattas. But I cannot speak of those who have come recently.
TT: You are demanding a state comprising Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. But the Dimasas are also demanding a state of their own.
BT: The movement for a state comprising both these districts is an old one. Article 244 (A) is our constitutional right. It should be implemented first. Next, a separate state when SRC is implemented.
TT: But donít you think that the Dimasas will oppose it?
BT: They may, as Dima Halam Daogah and other organisations have also been demanding Dimaraji for years. We will discuss it later.
TT: A Karbi person like Rong Bong Terang has become the president of Asam Sahitya Sabha. Do you think the Karbi writers who wrote in Assamese did not do much to popularise Karbi language among the Assamese?
BT: Itís like giving you a vehicle without its key. It is right. The Karbis have become more educated but there are not enough books published in the Karbi language.
TT: You dance bihu, Assamese people also dance bihu. How will you delink them once you get a state?
BT: Culture and politics are way apart. Culture is very important. Culture of different communities should be kept alive. But it is disappearing from Karbi Anglong because we donít have money or facilities. We will live together and there will be no cultural differences.
TT: Is the movement is an outcome of peopleís apprehension of losing their language and culture or political power?
BT: Our first concern is economy. We donít have economic power to improve our language and culture. People are afraid of losing their language and culture. The government has given autonomous council for Karbi Anglong but without actual autonomy and power. Dispur controls everything.
TT: Are you happy with the kind of efforts taken by the government to solve your demands?
BT: Article 244 (A) is our constitutional right. The government must give it to us. People have resorted to some unconstitutional means to get their demand fulfilled as the governments have failed to understand the language of democratic movement. But we want that the peopleís demands should be fulfilled without bloodshed.
Why Karbis are
demanding a state
Failure of Assamese
people to develop
brotherhood with Karbis
Government’s failure to give enough facilities for Karbis on time
to siphon off funds sanctioned for development of Karbi Anglong
Political leaders’ attempt to control Karbi Anglong from Dispur