The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Games ban threat to Assam

Ranchi, Nov. 27: Enraged by the violence in Assam targeting tribals, the Adivasi Chatra Sangh (ACS) in Jharkhand has decided to oppose the entry of the northeastern state’s team in the 34th National Games scheduled to be held in Ranchi next year.

The organisation has also decided to enforce an “economic blockade” in Jharkhand as part of its strategy to create pressure on the Centre for the demand of Scheduled Tribe status to the “tea tribes” in Assam.

“If the Assam government fails to give the tea tribes ST status within the next two months, we will not allow the Assam team to set foot on the soil of Jharkhand for participating in the National Games,” said Chamra Linda, the president of the tribal students’ organisation. The National Games is to be held in January-February next year.

Linda said he differed with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren, who gave a clean chit to the Congress government in Assam. “We doubt what he is saying is correct,” he said.

The students’ association boss said the coal that is transported to the Centre and Assam from Jharkhand to fuel thermal plants there would be stopped, resulting in an “economic blockade”. “We have proposed this step. But the dates will be declared if the Assam government fails to fulfil its responsibility of providing ST status to the tea tribes,” Linda said.

A delegation of association leaders marched to Raj Bhavan and handed over a memorandum to the governor’s office. In the absence of Syed Sibtey Razi, who is not in the capital, principal secretary Amit Khare accepted the memorandum.

“Through the governor, we have asked the President to take notice of the demands of the tea tribes. Since it is the President who notifies ST status for a group, why should there be region-wise discrepancy' Tea tribes elsewhere are tribals,” said Karma Oraon, the professor of anthropology, Ranchi University. He said the tea tribes are settled in Assam for the past 150 years and have been denied their constitutional rights even after 60 years of Independence.

Members of the ST cell of the state BJP also visited Raj Bhavan and handed over a memorandum.

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