Assam: 48-hour blockade in state over ST demand


GUWAHATI, July 11, 2018: On Tuesday, All Assam Matak Yuba Chatra Sanmilan  had announced a 48-hour statewide economic blockade starting from July 18. The protest will be held against the delay in granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six indigenous communities of the state.

Six communities seeking ST status include- Tai Ahoms, Morans, Muttocks, Sutias, Koch Rajbongshis and the Adivasis.

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Sanmilan president David Chetia said, "We are organising a series of agitation in protest against the Centre's dilly-dallying in granting ST status to the six indigenous communities.

"It was an election promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal but there seems to be no end to the delay. In protest, we have called an economic blockade on July 18 and 19.

"We will also organise bike rallies and village meetings from August 8 to 18 and observe a black day on August 15. There will be an airport blockade on September 8 and a nagarik sabha will be held in Guwahati on October 27, coinciding with our foundation day," he added.

Chetia alleged that the Narendra Modi government had "betrayed" them. "Before the election, they had promised ST status to the six ethnic communities but failed to keep their promise," he said.

He also criticised the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in Assam for failing to provide ST status to the communities.

Chetia said they have held four rounds of discussions with the modality committee formed by the Modi government for the purpose but there has been no fruitful outcome.

"The fifth meeting with the committee will be held on July 20. We are hopeful," he added.

Asked about their role in the ensuing panchayat election in Assam and 2019 Lok Sabha election, he said, "We are not a political party but if the government fails to provide ST status to the six ethnic groups, we will intensify our movement. For now, we have called the economic blockade to press for our demand."

During the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Modi had promised ST status to the six communities.

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: The Telegraph