DHUBRI, July 27 - The Deshi Janagosthiya community people, who inhabit undivided Goalpara district, want constitutional protection under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord as an indigenous group of people. They also demand recognition under Clause 3.3 of the Citizenship Act.
Besides, a public meeting organised by the Deshi Janagosthiya Jatiya Sangsad at the Circuit House Auditorium here on July 25 condemned the smear campaign launched by vested interest circles, including Awaz portal, for creating confusion over the NRC updating process.
Speakers at the meeting deplored the fact that efforts of the Deshi Janagosthi people to assert their unique identity have so far been upset by the migrants in a very conspiratorial manner. The migrants raise an uproar whenever the Deshi Janagosthi people make any effort to assert their identity as a �design� to create a schism among the Muslims. Taking advantage of the poor literacy rate and the resultant ignorance prevailing among the Deshi Janagosthi people, the organisations of the migrants also manage to manipulate the authorities concerned to initiate such steps that frustrate the Deshi Janagosthi�s cause.
The elite section of the Deshi Janagosthi people here have also complained that Islamic bigotry has constantly been propagated among the gullible people of this community by the migrants� organisations for the past about two decades with a political design. Anyone opposing such bigotry is silenced with the application of social ostracism by the Islamic fundamentalists fostered by the migrants. The fundamentalists resort to this weapon in the name of Islamic Sunna (culture).
Forefathers of the people of this community were the autochthonous people of undivided Goalpara district. They embraced Islam enmasse in the early part of the 13th century and are still living in undivided Goalpara district by outnumbering the migrant Muslim population in these areas.
The elites of this community also allege that all the migrants� organisations are now trying hard to persuade the members of this ethnic group to distance themselves from the other indigenous ethnic groups of undivided Goalpara district by deserting their traditional cultures and integrating more with the migrants culturally. This is not going to augur well for the indigenous people of the State, claimed the Deshi Janagosthi elites.
The people of this community still perform uruli (ululate) on auspicious occasions, and welcome the bride and the bridegroom by keeping burning earthen lamps on the saloni during their wedding ceremonies, like the other ethnic groups of the NE region. Their womenfolk wear mekhela-sador, while the menfolk wear Kalathan (black gamusa), use black paguri (headgear) and wear a white vest.
The literacy rate among these people is hardly 25 per cent. According to the president of the All Deshi Janagosthiya Jatiya Sangsad, Abu Adil Mohammad Enamul Haque, who is also an advocate and a former chief organising secretary as well as coordinator of the International Border Affairs of All Assam Students� Union (AASU), the Government allocations for minority development are directed only towards the benefit of the migrant population.
There is a separate directorate for Char Area Development, which is meant only for the benefit of the migrant community. The migrant people are also deriving benefit from the special quotas meant for the char (riverine area) residents. However, the Deshi Janagosthiya people are not getting any benefit from the Government schemes meant for the minorities.
Therefore, a separate directorate for the development of the people belonging to this community should be set up and this community should be accorded the status of Other Backward Classes (OBC). The Government should also provide constitutional protection to this community under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, Haque said.
Earlier, the July 25 meeting was inaugurated by Dr Akbbar Ali Ahmed, former Head of the Department, History, BN College, Dhubri, and was addressed, among others, by Asam Sahitya Sabha ex-vice president Pachugopal Chakravorty and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba-Chatra Parishad vice president Hemen Chakravorty.