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Call to keep Karbis, Dimasas

Karbis, Dimasas and other Scheduled Tribe (Hills) people do not fall within the definition of 'Assamese people'

By Suroj Barman in Haflong
  • Published 21.09.19, 3:18 AM
  • Updated 21.09.19, 3:18 AM
  • a min read
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The ASDC delegation submits the memorandum. Picture by Suroj Barman

The Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) has urged the high-powered committee, constituted by the ministry of home affairs, not to include Karbis and Dimasas within the purview of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord as Karbis, Dimasas and other Scheduled Tribe (Hills) people do not fall within the definition of “Assamese people”.

In a memorandum submitted to the chairman of the committee through Karbi Anglong’s deputy commissioner, the ASDC said: “In the status paper circulated by the Assam government, three definitions of Assamese people were put forward. One proposed by the AGP government in 1989 included all indigenous peoples, linguistic groups and genuine Indian citizens permanently settled in the state who have accepted the local language and culture. The second, apparently proposed by the then Congress regime and the present BJP government as well, is similarly defined.

“The third, proposed by the All Assam Students Union, said all those whose names appear in the 1951 National Register of Citizen would qualify for the claim as Assamese people,” the memorandum said.

The ASDC added that it is unacceptable as Karbi Anglong never was a part of Assam till the British brought them under the same provincial administration.

“Following implementation of the Government of India Act 1919, the area was known as the ‘backward tract’ and brought under the administrative control of the governor,” it said.

The ASDC also demanded that Karbi and Dimasa languages be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution for its protection and preservation and the Assamese Official Language Act, 1960, be withdrawn from the three hill districts of Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.