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Bodos Should Not Infringe on Rights of Hill Tribes, Says Karbi Body

Guwahati, January 30, 2020:

The Greater Guwahati Karbi Students’ Association (GGKSA) has urged the central and state governments to repeal the decision pertaining to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status of the Bodos residing in the hill districts of Assam.

In a statement, the Karbi body welcomed the Bodo Peace Accord and stated, “We hope that there will be peace and tranquility in the newly created Bodo Territorial Region, between the Bodos and all the other indigenous communities.

“The GGKSA, however begs to draw the attention of all the parties concerned to Clause 6.1 of the Memorandum of Settlement for granting the status of ST (H) to those members of the Bodo community residing in the twin districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao,” read the release and listed its concerns relating to the indigenous hill tribes.

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“The indigenous hill tribes of the hill districts are not only the most financially and economically backward communities of Assam, but unfortunately also the most ignorant tribes of Assam in matters of law,” said the Greater Guwahati Karbi Students’ Association in its statement.

It added, “…The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution is the only law which has protected the hill tribes till today from total deprivation and extinction, but by granting the Bodos ST (H) status, the government has done so without considering the cost imposed to the hill tribes in the matter of reservation in parliament and state assembly including jobs and admissions, which is already very limited.”

The Greater Guwahati Karbi Students’ Association opined that the government should have at least spoked with the stakeholders like the traditional organisations of the hill tribes. It also called the move of Bodos asking for their inclusion in to the ST(H) category.

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“It is unfair that they will avail of both ST(P) and ST(H) seats even though all the Bodos of Assam speak the exact same language and have the same social customs. Even by legal reasoning it is illogical that only by virtue of their recent migration to the hills our Bodo brothers have become hill tribes,” said the Karbi body.

The Greater Guwahati Karbi Students’ Association, while putting forward its concerns, also said, “The Karbis shall always support our Bodo brothers in their endeavours, we earnestly request them to instead alter their demand and ask for a separate sub-category of reservation for their people, without infringing on the rights of the Hill Tribes.”

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