Kokrajhar, Oct. 6: The All Santal Students' Union (ASSU) expressed grave concern and dissatisfaction over the non-fulfilment of its various demands pertaining to the development of the community, including Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the community in Assam.
Talking to reporters at Kokrajhar Press Club today, the union's central committee president, Simon Kisku, said though they have been making various demands to the government, no initiative has been taken yet.
He said the long-standing demand of Assam's Santhali and Adivasi communities on ST status is still to be fulfilled.
"Despite fulfilling all criteria, the Santhali, Oraon, Munda and others are deprived of ST status. The Santhali community does not need any modalities to be included in the ST list. We have all the characteristics and our communities in other parts of the country are already included in the list," he said.
The student leader also demanded creation of posts for the Santhali subject teachers and supply of free textbooks for Santhal students from classes I to VIII.
Kisku said Santhali language is being taught in many schools in the state, including 322 in the BTAD, but the students are still deprived of free textbooks, which is gross violation of Right to Education Act (RTE).
The union also demanded immediate rehabilitation of the 16 families of Deosri Ashrabari in Chirang who were evicted on September 12. Kisku said the families were evicted without proper rehabilitation by the authorities.
"Many of the families were forced to settle in the forests after being displaced during ethnic conflicts in 1996 and 1998 without any rehabilitation package. Now, they are being evicted from the forest land again without rehabilitation," he said.
Kisku also demanded land allotment for those who are living on forest land according to the Traditional Forest Dwellers Act.