Guwahati, Nov 3 (UNI) The All Assam Tea Tribes' Student Union today took out a cycle rally, demanding schedule caste status for this third largest community of Assam.
The cycle rally reached Guwahati today and according to its president Prahlad Gowala and General Secretary Pallab Lochan Das, the 35 lakh strong community have ''always been exploited by political parties of Assam''.
They said the parliamentary Select Committee had not opposed the scheduling but due to political reasons the process has been blocked.
The AATSU has already called for an Assam bandh and as a next phase they have carried out the cycle rally from Sadiya to Guwahati.
The student union alleged that for decades the community had been used as a ''vote bank by all political parties'' but, actual development had never reached the tea tribes.
''Of late, the community is suffering a lot due to diarrhoea-related diseases because of neglect by tea garden managements,'' they claimed.
They further said that all similar tribes of Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa and Madhya Pradesh have been brought under schedule caste status but the tea tribes of Assam remained excluded from its purview.