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Sarania ST status challenged

Kokrajhar, April 21: The credibility of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificate of Naba Kumar Sarania alias Hira Sarania, a former Ulfa leader who is contesting the Kokrajhar (ST) seat as an Independent, has been questioned by some indigenous groups, including the Janajati Suraksha Samity.

Alleging that Sarania’s ST certificate is invalid, the samity has sought its cancellation.

In a release issued late last evening, the samity’s president Bijan Kumar Brahma, secretary Ashok Kumar Brahma and members Janaklal Basumatary and Karuna Kanta Basumatary said the All Assam Tribal Sangha, which had issued the ST certificate to the Sarania Kachari community, was not a competent authority to do so.

It said the sangha was wrongly authorised by the Assam government, vide memo No. TAD/BC/265/-2009/07-A dated June 22, 2009, to issue such certificates.

But, according to government rules, a certificate-issuing authority should not be below the rank of a revenue officer whereas the sangha is an NGO and, therefore, has no locus standi.

It said both the Sarania Kacharis and the sangha knew that the community was not notified as ST under Article 342(1)(2) of the Constitution or enlisted in the state ST list or under the several amendments till date, under Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950.

Yet the sangha decided to give ST certificate to the community at its executive meeting on June 29, 2009 and issued a directive to all its district units to issue ST certificates to Sarania Kacharis.

The sangha alleged that the Sarania Kachari community impersonated as a sub-tribe of Boro-Kachari, which is enlisted in the ST list of Assam. It retained its Sarania surname while identifying itself as a sub-caste of Boro-Kachari though there is no constitutional provision for a community to partly retain its name and partly adopt the name of another community.

The release said the sangha has no constitutional authority to take such decisions as even the Union and state governments cannot take any major policy decision on SC/ST status without mandatorily consulting the SC/ST Commission under Article 338(9) of the Constitution.

“The Sangha’s decision is, therefore, illegal and the ST certificate issued on the basis of such a decision is ab initio void, hence not cognizable,” the release said, adding that the ST certificate provided by Naba Kumar Sarania, who belongs to the Sarania-Kachari community, thus stands void.

The samity said Sarania belongs to Sarania Kachari community, which is not notified as ST under Article 342(1)(2), and not the Boro-Kachari community as the Sarania Kacharis did not agree to use Boro Kachari or the Rabha surname as proposed by the sangha in 2003.

The samity said since Sarania’s ST certificate was invalid, the countersigning of his certificate by civil SDO, Tamalpur, was a prima facie mistake. It has requested the SDO to recall and cancel all the ST certificates issued to the Sarania Kacharis.

Sarania’s candidature has the support of Sanmilito Jonogosthiyo Oikyo Moncho, a conglomerate of non-Bodo groups.


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