Dhubri, Jan. 29: The Kamtapur Association’s 100-hour fast for creation of a separate Kamtapur state and Scheduled Tribe status for the community completed 48 hours today.
Defying the cold, 15 activists of the Kamtapur Association’s central committee have been on a hunger strike at Gauripur children’s park in Dhubri since January 27.
A magistrate has visited the protest site to check the health of the agitators but no medical teams have visited them so far.
The association, which has recently made its presence felt in parts of Assam and north Bengal, claimed that this movement was an effort to protect the 2.8 crore Koch Rajbangshi people living not only in India but also in Bangladesh and Nepal.
The community’s political, cultural and socio-economic rights are at risk owing to the Balkanisation (meaning dividing a territory into small, hostile states) of the community’s territory, association members alleged.
The association’s president, Uttam Kumar Roy, told The Telegraph that an agreement of annexation had been signed between the Koch dynasty and the Indian government on August 28, 1949 that clearly stated that Cooch Behar would be given the status of a C-class state.
“But the agreement was not honoured and a part this glorious state was included as a district of West Bengal on 1st January, 1950. However, the movement for a separate state has been continuing since then,” Roy said.
Roy alleged that the governments of Assam and Bengal were trying to crush this movement by harassing people of the community by branding them KLO operatives. “We strongly condemn this.”
Members of the Kamtapur Association said 89.46 lakh Koch Rajbongshis live in Assam, 1.2 crore live in north Bengal, 1.5 lakh live in Meghalaya, 10 lakh live in three districts of Bihar — Purnea, Kishanganj and Katihar — 7 lakh live in Jhapa, Morang and Sunsiri districts of Nepal and nearly 40 lakh live in Rongpur, Sherpur, Mymensingh, Pabna and Bakura districts of Bangladesh.
But the association is demanding a separate Kamtapur state comprising six districts of Bengal and 15 districts of Assam. The districts from Bengal are Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur and Malda and the 15 contiguous districts of Assam are Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Barpeta, Baksa, Nalbari, Darrang, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Goalpara, undivided Kamrup and Morigaon, a source said.