Guwahati, Aug 20 (UNI) The All Chutiya Jati Sanmilan, Assam, today declared it would undertaken intensive agitation to press for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status the tribe, along with five other tribes, a demand rejected by the Union Ministry on August 14 last.
They also maintained that accord of such status would also help check the massive illegal immigration to a great extent.
The Chutiya tribe, along with Ahom, Muttock, Moran, Koch Rajbongshis and tea labourers, had been demanding ST (plains) status. Union Tribal Affairs Minister P R Kyndiah said on August 14 that the government had no proposal for according such status to the tribes.
The decision was widely criticised by the tribes and a 12-hour statewide bandh had also been called on August 22 in protest.
Effigies of the Prime Minister and Mr Kyndiah were also burnt.
Addressing a press meet here, former MLA and ex-president of the Sanmilan Khokeswar Barua said, '' We will take up more agitation steps now that our demand has not been accepted. Our agitation will be democratic and non-violent. We do not want to take up arms for our demands. '' He pointed out that the Chutiyas had been demanding ST status since 1979.
'' We had submitted first proposal to the then Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi. But all that we have got over the years is mere assurances,'' he said.
Mr Barua said other tribes, having many things in common to the Chutiyas, had been accorded ST status long back and were reaping the benefits.
If the six tribes were given special status, it would help curtail immigration to a certain extent as land and property rights would be restricted in such belts and illegal migrants would not be able to settle in those areas, Mr Barua added.
General Secretary of the Sanmilan Haren Chuitya said they had decided to observe the month of September as 'Awareness month' and take up awareness drive right from the grassroots level.
A delegation comprising all the six tribes would meet the Central leadership soon, he informed saying the State government would also be contacted before approaching New Delhi.
''If necessary, we may have to seek the help of the court, '' Mr Chutiya added.