NEW DELHI, Sept 23 - The expert committee set up by the Centre to look into the demand for Schedule Tribe (ST) status by the six communities of Assam is now likely to submit its report on October 15.
The representatives of the six communities were informed about this by Joint Secretary (North-East) Satyendra Garg in a tripartite meeting held at North Block here this afternoon. The meeting was also attended by Special Secretary Mahesh Singla and the Centre�s interlocutor PC Haldar. The Government of Assam was represented by Additional Chief Secretary Rajib Bora and ADGP Pallav Bhattacharya.
Emerging from the hour-long meeting, All Koch Rajbongshi Students Union (AKRSU) president Hiteswar Barman said the Centre informed that the expert committee is scheduled to submit its report and modalities to the Union Government next month.
He said that they were informed by the Central Government officials that modalities have been finalised. Some review work is in progress and after it is finished, the committee will submit its report within October 15, Barman told newsmen.
As reported earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had on February 28 set up a committee to recommend the modalities for completing the process. The committee was mandated to consult the Assam Government and suggest the modalities for the required reservations and shifting the existing reservation for these communities from OBC to ST.
Barman, meanwhile, said that they sought the details of the modalities being framed, but was declined by the Centre. �We were told that only after submission of the report, the Centre would reveal the details,� Barman said.
However, the AKRSU president clarified that grant of ST status was not enough unless they were guaranteed political and land rights. �We need political and land rights; only then, we would be benefitted,� said the AKRSU leader.
All Tai Ahom Students Union president Litul Borgohain said that while they were not in a position to comment about the report, they would prefer to wait for another 15 days. He said that they were expecting the report to be submitted today, but the Centre failed to do so.
The modalities should be such that they get the ST status and other communities are also not adversely impacted, he said, adding that the bandh call given for September 26 has been withdrawn following today�s development.