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ASDC renews demand for autonomous hill State

By KAMAL KUMAR BRAHMA
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DIPHU, July 28 - The Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) the torch-bearer of statehood movement from the hills of Assam has once again raised the autonomous state issue recently. ASDC president Holiram Terang submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh through the Deputy Commissioner of Karbi Anglong demanding holding of tripartite talks for creation of a hill state comprising Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao autonomous districts.

The memorandum expressed displeasure over the Government of India�s letdown in creation of an autonomous state encompassing the autonomous hill areas of Assam. The memo mentioned that the people of the hills insisted for an administrative setup wholly detached from Assam since independence as the autonomous councils functioning under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India cannot acceptably protect the culture, society, and economy of the hill tribes.

The ASDC also mentioned that that the hill autonomous districts of Assam chose to remain within Assam as they were assured that administrative changes will be made to enhance the powers of the autonomous district councils and more funds will be allocated to expedite development. And that Article 244 (A) was also inserted to the Constitution of India through the Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Act, 1969 which provided that Parliament may �form within the State of Assam an autonomous State� comprising the remaining hill districts whenever it is required; but the demand has not been addressed.

The memo pointed out that there is a huge difference of Government funding between the Hills Areas of Assam and other tribal states like Mizoram, Meghalaya. During the 9th Plan outlay Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills received Rs. 1400 per capita investment only, whereas Mizoram received Rs 11000 per capita investment. The combined population of Karbi Anglong district and North Cachar Hills district, according to 1991 census, was 8,13,524 and that of Mizoram was 6,89,756. The area having about 25% less population gets almost 10 times more funds. Again, during the 10th Plan outlay (2002-2007), Government of India earmarked Rs 3,000 crore for Meghalaya, Rs 2,228 crore for Nagaland and Rs 2,300 crore for Mizoram. But the Hills Areas of Assam received less than Rs 800 crore of Plan Fund. Moreover, the tribal states of Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland received the central taxes� share ranging from Rs 300 crore to Rs 500 crore annually under the provision of Article 280 of the Constitution of India in addition to the Plan Fund. But the Hills Districts of Assam do not get a share of this central tax share under this provision for not being a state.

�The continuous marginalisation, deprivation and discrimination compelled the people of the organise a mass movement for the creation of an autonomous state under the banner of the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) and the Karbi Students� Association (KSA) from 1986. After agitating for about a year, a formal memorandum was submitted to the then Prime Minister of India on May 18, 1987 in New Delhi. A copy of this memorandum is attached with the present memorandum as Annexure 1. It may be mentioned that the movement gathered strong support from all sections of the society. Many rounds of tripartite talks were held with the Union and State governments. After many years of continuous agitation and talks with the government, a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Assam Government, represented by the Chief Minister and leaders of the ASDC, KSA, NCHSF (North Cachar Hills Students� Federation), and DSU (Dimasa Students� Union) on April 1, 1995 in New Delhi in the presence of the then Union Home Minister. The MoU, among others, provided for transferring legislative powers to the Autonomous Councils on 14 subjects by amending the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, giving more say to the Council on the law and order administration, regularisation of funding mechanism and extending the �jurisdiction of the two Councils for the exercise of executive powers� over 30 departments,� the memorandum mentioned.

The regional party also expressed immense disappointment on the Government of India saying that important clauses of this MoU have not been implemented till now.

�Reminders and subsequent discussions with the government did not improve the situation. It can be recalled that the Government had also signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with an armed organisation, which had similar demands, in 2011. These MoS too remains unexecuted,�.

The memorandum stated that the Home Minister is familiar with Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts and about their demands as he has already visited the area and has addressed public rallies in the past. �However, our issue did not come up when the previous government created the States of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand. The same pick and choose policy was adopted when the State of Telengana was created. It seems that this same pick and choose policy is being followed even now by inviting the All Bodo Students� Union for a tripartite discussion on a separate Bodoland State but totally ignoring a more distinct demand like ours for the creation of a hill State,� the memorandum stated.

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ASDC renews demand for autonomous hill State

DIPHU, July 28 - The Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) the torch-bearer of statehood movement from the hills of Assam has once again raised the autonomous state issue recently. ASDC president Holiram Terang submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh through the Deputy Commissioner of Karbi Anglong demanding holding of tripartite talks for creation of a hill state comprising Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao autonomous districts.

The memorandum expressed displeasure over the Government of India�s letdown in creation of an autonomous state encompassing the autonomous hill areas of Assam. The memo mentioned that the people of the hills insisted for an administrative setup wholly detached from Assam since independence as the autonomous councils functioning under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India cannot acceptably protect the culture, society, and economy of the hill tribes.

The ASDC also mentioned that that the hill autonomous districts of Assam chose to remain within Assam as they were assured that administrative changes will be made to enhance the powers of the autonomous district councils and more funds will be allocated to expedite development. And that Article 244 (A) was also inserted to the Constitution of India through the Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Act, 1969 which provided that Parliament may �form within the State of Assam an autonomous State� comprising the remaining hill districts whenever it is required; but the demand has not been addressed.

The memo pointed out that there is a huge difference of Government funding between the Hills Areas of Assam and other tribal states like Mizoram, Meghalaya. During the 9th Plan outlay Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills received Rs. 1400 per capita investment only, whereas Mizoram received Rs 11000 per capita investment. The combined population of Karbi Anglong district and North Cachar Hills district, according to 1991 census, was 8,13,524 and that of Mizoram was 6,89,756. The area having about 25% less population gets almost 10 times more funds. Again, during the 10th Plan outlay (2002-2007), Government of India earmarked Rs 3,000 crore for Meghalaya, Rs 2,228 crore for Nagaland and Rs 2,300 crore for Mizoram. But the Hills Areas of Assam received less than Rs 800 crore of Plan Fund. Moreover, the tribal states of Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland received the central taxes� share ranging from Rs 300 crore to Rs 500 crore annually under the provision of Article 280 of the Constitution of India in addition to the Plan Fund. But the Hills Districts of Assam do not get a share of this central tax share under this provision for not being a state.

�The continuous marginalisation, deprivation and discrimination compelled the people of the organise a mass movement for the creation of an autonomous state under the banner of the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) and the Karbi Students� Association (KSA) from 1986. After agitating for about a year, a formal memorandum was submitted to the then Prime Minister of India on May 18, 1987 in New Delhi. A copy of this memorandum is attached with the present memorandum as Annexure 1. It may be mentioned that the movement gathered strong support from all sections of the society. Many rounds of tripartite talks were held with the Union and State governments. After many years of continuous agitation and talks with the government, a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Assam Government, represented by the Chief Minister and leaders of the ASDC, KSA, NCHSF (North Cachar Hills Students� Federation), and DSU (Dimasa Students� Union) on April 1, 1995 in New Delhi in the presence of the then Union Home Minister. The MoU, among others, provided for transferring legislative powers to the Autonomous Councils on 14 subjects by amending the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, giving more say to the Council on the law and order administration, regularisation of funding mechanism and extending the �jurisdiction of the two Councils for the exercise of executive powers� over 30 departments,� the memorandum mentioned.

The regional party also expressed immense disappointment on the Government of India saying that important clauses of this MoU have not been implemented till now.

�Reminders and subsequent discussions with the government did not improve the situation. It can be recalled that the Government had also signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with an armed organisation, which had similar demands, in 2011. These MoS too remains unexecuted,�.

The memorandum stated that the Home Minister is familiar with Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts and about their demands as he has already visited the area and has addressed public rallies in the past. �However, our issue did not come up when the previous government created the States of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand. The same pick and choose policy was adopted when the State of Telengana was created. It seems that this same pick and choose policy is being followed even now by inviting the All Bodo Students� Union for a tripartite discussion on a separate Bodoland State but totally ignoring a more distinct demand like ours for the creation of a hill State,� the memorandum stated.

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