Clause 6 does not Cover Karbi, Dimasa and other Hill Tribes: ASDC

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Demands Reservation of Seats for Tribals in Assembly

DIPHU, Nov 06: Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) said that Clause 6 of the Assam Accord does not cover Karbi, Dimasa and other hill tribes of the state and stated that separate measures have to be taken for the protection of the hill tribes. This was stated in a press statement issued jointly by president Holiram Terang, working president Chandra Kanta Terang and legal cell in charge Sonasing Terang here in Diphu today.

Briefing about the recent meeting held with High Level Committee on Clause 6 of Assam Accord to the media, Autonomous State Demand Committee said that their stand remains the same as has been submitted to the committee on September 19, 2019.

“The High Level Committee on Clause 6 of Assam Accord had invited the Autonomous State Demand Committee to hold discussion on the Terms of Reference of the Committee. Accordingly, a team of the ASDC comprising Holiram Terang, President and Chandra Kanta Terang, Working President met the HLC on 2d November, 2019 in Guwahati. It was apprised to the Committee that a Memorandum had already been sent to the Committee on 19th September, 2019 which was a reiteration of the view of the ASDC given to the Department of Assam Accord, Government of Assam on 28h January, 2008,” read the statement.

Further, in their statement, the regional party said, “The ASDC once again categorically placed before the Committee that since Clause 6 of the Assam Accord mentions about – “Constitutional, legislative, and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.” the Clause does not cover the Karbi, Dimasa, and other hill tribes. Therefore, separate measures have to be taken for the protection of the hill tribes or Clause 6 has to be legally interpreted as to include the hill tribes besides the Assamese people. There should be reservation of seats in the Assembly and other local bodies for tribals as well besides the Assamese people.”

In addition to this the regional party said that their delegation emphasized on the fact that Karbis, Dimasas and other hill tribes have never been under the Ahom rule, and even the British designated the hill areas as “Backward Tract, Excluded Area, Partially Excluded Area” etc. keeping its presence at the minimum. Hence the hill areas not ever being in “Assam,” the people too cannot be categorized under the term “Assamese.”

“On the question of defining “indigenous”, the ASDC opined that there cannot be any cut-off year for categorizing indegeneity,” the party added. The regional party also pointed out that the idea can be explored with the general concept that apart from the Hill tribes, people who have been residing in the area since the area came to be known as “Assam” or “Axom” can be categorized as “indigenous.”

“The ASDC gave its opinion that those citizens should not be given the right to contest elections or even to vote. As to the question of reservation of seats in elected bodies it was opined that it should be proportionate to the size of the population amongst the indigenous people,” concluded the statement.