Joint forum of tribal communities to skip mass marriage event on February 2
A joint forum of five tribal communities in north Bengal has decided to skip the February 2 mass marriage organised by the Alipurduar district police to press for their demand for a separate development council.
On February 2, marriages of 450 couples of Rajbanshi and tribal communities are scheduled at Falakata. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, due in Siliguri on Monday, is supposed to attend the event.
Ravi Rava, convener of the joint forum, explained why they were staying away from the event. “Time and again, we have demanded a separate development council for five tribes (Mech, Rava, Boro, Garo and Toto). The state has come up with many development boards but our demand has not been met. That is why we have decided not to attend the mass marriage ceremony and we would discourage any couple from any of these communities from joining the event,” Rava said.
The five tribes form a vote bank of five lakh in the Dooars.
Forum members said they had sent many letters to the chief minister and other members of her cabinet for the development council.
“If our demand is not met, we may think whether or not to vote in the Bengal polls,” added Rava.
The forum’s stand is a fresh poser for Trinamul that is largely banking on the tribal population to win the Assembly seats of Dooars and Terai.
District Trinamul leaders declined to comment and were waiting for Mamata’s arrival, sources said.
In North Dinajpur, trains were disrupted for over three hours on Sunday afternoon as hundreds of tribal people reached the tracks at Dalkhola station to demand the recognition of Sarna as a religious code by the Centre.
Additional reporting by Kousik Sen in Raiganj