The North Cachar Hills Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Thursday deferred its proposed second phase of indefinite North Cachar Hills bandh after the state government invited it for talks.
The forum’s secretary, L. Hlima Keivom, said the Assam government had invited them and other stakeholder organisations of the hills district to negotiate their demands through the proposed talks on March 26.
“We have been invited for talks with the government of Assam. The meeting will be presided over by finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 26 in Dispur,” Keivom said.
The forum had called its second phase of indefinite NC Hills bandh from March 16 in protest against alleged non-fulfilment of its demands.
The forum has been demanding two separate district councils — one for the Dimasa community and the other for non-Dimasa indigenous communities residing in Dima Hasao district (previously North Cachar Hills).
Keivom said, “We have been waiting since years for an amicable and lasting solution to our demands. We urge the state government to make the proposed meeting on March 26 a final one.”
The nomenclature of the erstwhile North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council was changed to Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council on March 31, 2010.
Since then, the forum and other non-Dimasa civil societies of the district have been demanding two separate autonomous district councils, apprehending that the renamed council safeguards only the interest of the Dimasa community.
“Since 2010, particularly after the renaming of the council, the Dimasas have been treating the non-Dimasa communities as second class citizens. We are deprived on all fronts. We believe that a justifiable solution will come up for us on March 26 to end our sufferings,” Keivom said.