DIBRUGARH, June 25 � The State government may have lured five Adivasi outfits � Birsa Commando Force (BCF), Adivasi People�s Army, All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), Santhal Tiger Force � to lay down arms with the assurance that the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status would be granted to the Adivasi communities of Assam very soon. However, the All Adivasi Students� Association of Assam (AASAA) has said that the community cannot be taken for a ride.
AASAA, the influential Adivasi student body of the State, staged demonstration across the State in different district headquarters today, warning the State government against alleged deceit. The district units of AASAA submitted memorandum to the Chief Minister through respective district administrations today, expressing resentment over the inordinate delay in granting ST status to the Adivasis. �We believe in democratic principles but this does not imply that we should wait for years,� AASAA president Raphale Kujur said.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram too had announced during the surrender ceremony of some 500 Adivasi cadres on January 24, 2012 in Guwahati that ST status would be granted to the Adivasi communities. A resolution to grant ST status to the Adivasis was also taken on September 9, 2011 in Guwahati during a tripartite meeting held between Shambu Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (NE in-charge), Jishnu Barua, State Home Commissioner, Khagen Sharma, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), WPT Commissioner L Phansu and the leaders of various Adivasi organisations including the surrendered groups.
Nine months have gone by after the tripartite meeting and five months have elapsed after about 500 armed activists of five separate Adivasi outfits of Assam laid down arms before Home Minister P Chidambaram relying on the promise of the Union Home Minister. The State government had also asked for ethnography report of each of the ST demanding communities, which has also been submitted to the concerned department, according to AASAA. �Patience is running out and we cannot but resume the path of agitation,� AASAA leader stated.
AASAA has further decided to stage a sit-in demonstration near the Raj Bhawan, Guwahati on July 10 and proceed to Delhi on July 15 to take up the ST matter with the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Tribal Affairs Minister and Chairman of the ST Commission. �If our demands are put aside, we will intensify our agitation,� Raphael Kujur said.
The five outfits who had surrendered have already formed an umbrella organization called Adivasi Ceasefire Coordination Organisation (ACCO) to fight for the political rights of the Adivasis of the State.