Assam govt clears stand on support for adivasis' ST demand

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Guwahati, Nov 27 (UNI) The Assam government today reiterated its support for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for adivasis as the state continued to remain tense over the issue after Saturday's clash between adivasi protestors and locals in Guwahati.

State cabinet ministers Prithvi Majhi and Ripun Bora, addressing a joint press conference here, said, '' The state government totally supports the adivasis demand for ST status. We have already recommended the case for all six communities and it is under consideration.'' Referring to Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal's statement in Parliament yesterday, they said his comments were reported only partially.

The Minister had meant that the then-government of 1965 had rejected the adivasis demand for ST status and the complete statement was being placed in the Lok Sabha today by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

The state government had sent the case of the six communities, tea tribes, Ahom, Koch-Rajbonshi, Mottock, Moran and Chutia, for ST status to the Centre latest in 2005 and the 'recommendation has not been rejected, but was under consideration'.

The ministers pointed that the case of ST status for migrated tribes was a national level issue and hence there was a delay in the Centre's decision.

The adivasis', mostly tea plantation workers in the state, ST status demand had taken centre stage after a protest rally by them turned violent in Guwahati on Saturday, leaving one dead and 250 injured.

Meanwhile, state government spokesperson and Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said most of the injured people have been discharged.

He said, '' As of now, there are 67 people in Guwahati Medical College and 30 in MMC hospital fit for discharge. But due to the bandh, we have not let them go. The rest have already returned.'' There was only one victim of Saturday's clash still admitted for head injury and he was also out of danger, Dr Sharma added.

The minister assured that administrative action will be taken even before the judicial enquiry submits its report. So far three persons accused of stripping an adivasi woman and five adivasi leaders have been arrested, he added.

UNI

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