NE tribal groups ready to intensify statehood movement

Guwahati, July 9 (IANS) Backed by the National Federation of New States (NFNS), a few ethnic groups of Assam and other parts of the northeastern region — the Bodos, Karbis, Kokborok and the Kukis — have chalked out a strategy to intensify their struggle for statehood jointly.

The representatives of the Bodos, Karbis, Kokborok and the Kukis have floated the northeast chapter of NFNS here and said they would intensify their agitation for separate states jointly.

“Before coming to power at the Centre in 2014 the BJP had assured to ‘sympathetically examine and appropriately consider’ the long standing demands of the Bodos and other tribals. However, although the government at the Centre had completed two years in office, nothing was done in this regard,” said All-Bodo Students’ Union President Promod Boro on Saturday.

“The movements for creating new states of Bodoland, Vidarbha, Karbi Anglong, Bundelkhand, Gorkhaland, Kukiland and Tripuraland are some of the glaring examples of these communities’ struggle to protect and safeguard their ethnic identities, which are under threat due to external aggression,” he said adding that these movements have been continuing as the recommendations of the state reorganisation committee of the central government are not sufficient to address their grievances.

“We have joined hands with the NFNS to boost the struggle for our separate statehood demand. We are going to organise a mass rally in Guwahati on August 15, and from September 1 we are going to sit in indefinite hunger strike,” he said adding that all they want is a solution to their demand without violence and bloodshed.

“The statehood demand of these smaller communities are legitimate, considering the history of the country. The Article 1 of the Constitution clearly says that India is a union of states. This implies that it is well within the jurisdiction of the Constitution to create new states,” said Swapnajit Sanyal, Working President of the Vidarbha Rajya Aghadi and central executive member of NFNS.

“The government of India held rounds of talks with us on the demand for creation of separate state for Karbi Anglong. However, nothing happened. We would restart the agitation and we are not going to stop until we achieve a Karbi Anglong state under Article 244A of the Constitution,” said Khorsing Teron, Chairman of the Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State (JACAS).

Similarly, Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) said nothing was done by the governments at the Centre to create a separate state for the Kukis in Manipur. “Although the first memorandum was given to the central government in 1969, the aspirations of the Kuki people are yet to be fulfilled,” said Hejang Haokip.



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