Centre urged to grant ST status to Tea Tribes, 5 others immediately

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New Delhi, Dec 10 (UNI) A high power all party delegation from the Assam Legislative Assembly today called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Tribal Affairs Minister P R Kyndiah and apprised them about the latest situation in the State, particularly about the attacks on the 'adivasis' on November 24.

The eleven member delegation, led by Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly Tonk Bhahadur and Education Minister Ripun Bora, narrated the entire episode that took place on November 24 and urged them to grant the Scheduled Tribes status to the Tea Tribes and five other prominent tribes of Assam namely Konch Rajbanshi, Moran, Motok, Chutia and Tai Ahom.

The delegation told them since granting the ST status was a lengthy process and could take much time, the Centre should set up a ''Special Legislative Committee'' to overcome the present situation and grant the ST status at the earliest.

Mr Bhahadur, later speaking to the mediapersons here, said the Home Minister said the Centre would take the decision in this regard on a national prospective and not keeping only Assam in mind.

The Tribal Affairs Minister suggested that it would rather be ideal to have a round table discussion with all concerned parties including the leaders of all these tribal groups to resolve the matter.

The CPI member in the delegation, Druphat Borgohai, said his party was of the view that Assam State be declared as a ''Tribal State'' as the tribal population was much more than the general population.

They urged the Prime Minister to set up a Group of Ministers (GOM) to resolve the issue at the earliest. Dr Singh, who patiently listened to all their views, assured to look into the matter at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the State Government is keen to grant the ST status to all these six tribal communities by December 15 - the deadline set by the All Assam Adivasi Students Association (AAASA) for launching the mass struggle against the administration in the State as well as the Centre towards achieving their objective.

The total population of these six communities in Assam is estimated at around 1.10 crores.

UNI

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