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Tribal group withdraws strike

Kokrajhar, Feb. 15: The All Assam Tribal Sangha has withdrawn its 12-hour statewide strike called on Monday to protest Dispur’s anti-reservation policy.

The strike was withdrawn after Dispur invited the Sangha for talks, its general secretary Aditya Khakhlari told reporters here today.

He said welfare of plains tribes and backward classes minister (except BTAD) Rajib Lochan Pegu and minister for the same department in BTAD Chandan Brahma had invited them for talks on Monday. “We have temporarily withdrawn the strike call, respecting the government’s invitation for talks. But if we are not satisfied with the outcome of the discussion, we will continue with our agitation,” he said.

Khakhlari alleged that SC and ST employees of different departments were deprived of promotions despite meeting the eligibility criteria. He demanded implementation of the Assam Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Post) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

Several tribal groups have alleged violation of the legislation on reservation of government posts by the PWD, public health engineering, irrigation, sericulture, water resources and agriculture departments, among others.

These groups include the Sangha, All Assam Tribal Youth League, All Assam Scheduled Caste Students’ Union, Assam Anuchita Jati Yuva-Chatra Santha, Karbi Students’ Union, Takam Mising Porin Kebang, Assam Anuchita Jati Parishad, All Tiwa Students’ Union and the All Assam Sarania Kachari Students’ Union.

Khakhlari alleged that the PWD had promoted 27 assistant executive engineers to executive engineers in violation of reservation rules. “Though 17 posts were reserved for SC and ST employees, the department de-reserved them and promoted other employees. Of the 17 posts, nine were reserved for ST (plains), five for ST (hills) and three for general SC candidates,” he alleged.

The All Bodo Students’ Union has slammed the government on its anti-tribal stand and supported the Sangha’s demand. Absu president Pramod Boro said the government has suppressed, oppressed and discriminated against indigenous people for a long time. “The tribal people are being deliberately deprived of their rights by the government. We will not tolerate such discrimination. Dispur has to implement the act on reservation in vacancies and services at the earliest.”


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