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Call not to grant autonomy

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 15 � Expressing concern over the demand for development councils for Bengali and Hindi-speaking communities and minorities (Muslims) in Assam, public activist Prof Deven Dutta said that the move was �sinister� and would �destroy� the State completely.

�Granting autonomy on linguistic and communal lines is a divisive step and will put the last nail on the coffin of Assam,� he said.

Prof Dutta said that the existing autonomous councils in the State under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution were territorial entities and hence different. �There are also caste-based development councils for scattered backward communities and castes, but the move to have similar political arrangements for religious minorities (Muslims) and Hindi and Bengali-speaking communities is preposterous and needs to be opposed firmly,� he said.

Pointing out that all the autonomous councils and development councils of the State had only resulted in corruption, power-centric politics and internal strife, Prof Dutta said that the councils totally failed to benefit the targetted groups.

Prof Dutta also questioned whether the State Government�s pro-council stand amounted to relinquishing its bounden duty of expediting the State�s all-round progress benefitting all the communities.

�By promoting councils for each and every group, is not the State Government admitting that it has failed to deliver on governance? If the Government can perform, where is the need for so many autonomous and development councils, which, anyway, have not served any purpose apart from promoting corruption and division among the masses?� he said.

The public activist said that if the Hindi and Bengali-speaking people of the State, as also the minorities, were given development councils, the same logic would have to apply to all the linguistic and religious minority groups.

Prof Dutta further said that by the same yardstick, Assamese people living in other states and UTs such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, etc., should also be granted development councils. �Will these states ever entertain such a ridiculous idea?� he argued.

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