Assam criticises J'khand politicians' role in adivasi violence

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Guwahati, Dec 2 (UNI) As Jharkhand simmered over adivasi violence in Assam, the Assam government today criticized Jharkhand politicians for playing politics at the cost of inciting further communal unrest in Assam.

The Opposition here also came under the government's scathing attack for its 'failure' to respond in a responsible manner to the tension created in the aftermath of November 24 clashes between adivasi protestors and locals in Guwahati.

Addressing a press conference here, Assam government spokesperson and Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said, ''Competitive politics of Jharkhand should not affect law and order in Assam. But leaders of that state are trying to win favour back home by displaying sympathy for the adivasis in Assam.'' He underlined the fact that the adivasi community in Assam traced their origins not only to Jharkhand, but also to Chattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

He said, ''The other states are maintaining restrain and Assam appreciates their gesture. But Jharkhand politicians are playing up the events in Assam.'' He also claimed that the situation of the adivasis was far worse in Jharkhand than those who migrated to Assam more than 150 years ago to work in tea plantations.

Dr Sharma accused some Jharkhand leaders, who had visited Assam after the clashes, of provoking the adivasis to present a 'coloured picture' of the day's happenings.

Pointing that the BJP-led NDA government had included 142 new communities in ST list in 2002, he said former Jharkhand chief ministers Arjun Munda and Babulal Marandi(who had visited Assam) did not take up the case of Assam adivasis during their tenure. Referring to the main Opposition party of the state Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Dr Sharma, quoted a then-AGP state government letter to the Centre in 1999 which said the AGP had opposed granting of ST status to the adivasis.

He said when the AGP had actually opposed such a move during their time, they had no moral right to criticise the present government, which had all along been advocating the cause of the adivasis.

He alleged that the AGP had failed to discharge its duties as a responsible opposition and remarked, ''They should have worked for restraining the situation rather than inciting further trouble.'' UNI

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