Bongaigaon, June 29: Adivasi and Koch-Rajbongshi groups have welcomed the proposal of a set of changed criteria for the inclusion of communities in the Scheduled Tribe list.
The proposal has been put forward by the task force in the ministry of tribal affairs seeking approval of the Union cabinet in May.
Biswajit Ray, president of All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union, termed the “proposal” a “right step” in favour of the communities.
The new criteria suggested by the task force are more comprehensive and prepare the grounds for inclusion of at least some of the six communities in Assam.
Ray said the “previous criteria” by which eligibility for tribal status of six communities had been judged “would not fit right at present” as the globalisation had changed the “behaviour” and the other “basic habits” of all the communities of the state. Hence, changed criteria would help other ethnic groups to gain eligibility for ST.
Ray said his faction of AKRSU would stage demonstration in front of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on July 7 to press for their ST and Kamtapur demands.
Troilokya Ray, the general secretary of Hiteswar Barman faction of AKRSU, said, “We are not bothered about any changes what the Union and state government desire for scheduling the communities in the list, we only know that our demand for ST is genuine and we want it to fulfil as early as possible.”
“If any change in criteria helps us get ST status, we obviously welcome such a step,” he added.
The All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam president, Rafael Kujur, expressed his gratitude to the new NDA government for its rapid action in favour of their long-pending ST demand.
Kujur said, “Our ST demand had been thrown aside for years by the former UPA government despite our repeated pleas and our voice could not reach them even after holding demonstrations in front of the UPA rulers in New Delhi.”