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Sabha against Assam division

- Warning to Centre and Dispur over statehood

Guwahati; March 7: Asam Sahitya Sabha today opposed demands for carving out separate states out of Assam and warned the Centre and the state government not to take any initiative in this regard.

“We have keenly observed that after the creation of Telangana, several communities in Assam got inspired and intensified their agitation to carve out separate states. The Centre has already divided ancient Assam into several states and thereby shattering unity among different communities living here,” said vice-president of the Sabha, Paramananda Rajbongshi.

The Sabha’s stand has come at a time when Bodo organisations and political parties like Bodo National Council and Bodoland People’s Front are upbeat about the creation of a one-man committee by the Centre to study the feasibility of carving Bodoland out of Assam as well as the Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State’s launching of a series of agitation programmes in support of its demand for creation of an autonomous state within Assam. Last evening, the committee took out a procession in Karbi Anglong as part of its agitation.

“As the Centre had earlier disregarded the sentiments of indigenous communities while creating separate states, only guided by political considerations, many are now not living like people of an independent country. They had to abandon their own language and culture,” Rajbongshi said.

Rajbongshi said the Sabha did not oppose when autonomy was granted to the communities now demanding separate states. He alleged that the authorities concerned did not take enough measures to secure the rights of these communities and protect their languages and cultures — reasons behind their demand for separate states.

He talked about the Sabha’s responsibility towards other languages of the state. “Assamese language has been used as a connecting language in the Northeast for ages. It has developed as a connecting language and does not belong to any community. We have demanded the state government to provide safeguard to indigenous languages like Karbi, Bodo, Mising, Rabha, Dimasa and Deuri along with the sahitya sabhas of these communities. We have supported the move to accord associated official language status to the Bodo language,” Rajbongshi said.

The Sabha vice-president said they have many instances to show how the Centre, state government and the autonomous councils in the state are working against the Assamese language.

“In any situation, Asam Sahitya Sabha will not support the demand for creation of separate states unless convincing positive steps are taken for the protection of the rights, mother tongues and cultures of indigenous communities. We warn the Centre and the state government against taking any step in this regard,” he said.