The Telegraph
Sunday , July 28 , 2013
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Worry over tribal status

Dhubri, July 27: Intellectuals today expressed concern over Ulfa’s proposal to the Centre to accord tribal status to Assam.

The intellectuals, including historians and academics of the district, had gathered at Dhubri Asam Sahitya Sabha Bhawan here under the auspices of Pacchim Asom Jagaran Mancha .

The speakers demanded that the government come clean on the status of non- tribal people living in lower Assam districts for centuries.

History teacher of Bholanath College Akabbar Ali Ahmed expressed apprehension over chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s statement that the Centre, which is engaged in talks with Ulfa, was seriously considering tribal state status for Assam.

“If this happens, what will be the status of non-tribal people who have been living in this part of Assam for centuries and have assimilated with the indigenous people and its culture irrespective of caste, creed and religion?” Ahmed asked.

Dilip Kumar Chakraborty, editor of a local weekly, while highlighting the history of eastern India and various phases of political developments that took place since 1874, said he was not opposed to the idea or proposal of according tribal status to the six communities of Assam but the government should walk cautiously on socio-economic and political status of non-tribal people.

“Like others, the Koch Rajbongshis in lower Assam have every right to demand ST status as they have been outnumbered by other communities and their socio-economic and political status are at stake,” Chakraborty said.

Partha Pratim Dutta, a social worker, spoke on protection of socio-economic and political rights of non-tribal people of lower Assam.

Presiding over the meeting, president of the Mancha, Enamul Haque, said the organisation had decided to formulate an agenda from opinions expressed by eminent persons.

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