NEW DELHI, April 24 - Under attack, the Centre today set a new deadline of June 30 for submission of the report on grant of scheduled tribe (ST) status to six communities of Assam even as the tripartite dialogue remained inconclusive.
The delay in submission of the Singla Committee report by over a year was cited to Mahesh Singla�s retirement. In his place, Reena Mitra has taken charge as chairman of the committee. The agitating organisations, however, were upset with the delay and described it as dilly-dallying tactics of the government.
A series of tripartite meetings were convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs with the representatives of the six communities seeking ST status. Today�s meeting, chaired by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, was attended by Assam minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, besides senior officials of the Central Government and State Government and representative of the Register General of India (RGI).
Emerging from the talks, Patowary described the talks as successful. He said the delay was on account of Singla�s retirement. �Furthermore, several ministries are involved in the exercise and the legal opinion has also to be taken. That is why it has taken time,� he said.
A leader of the Tai Ahom Chatra Sanstha, Ashwini Chetia said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal despite assuring that he would be present, failed to turn up at the meeting. He said they were not satisfied with the meeting.
�The Mahesh Singla Committee was scheduled to submit its report on May 31, 2016 but it is yet to be submitted. The committee is now headed by Reena Mitra and it is scheduled to submit its report on June 30,� he said, adding, �the government is playing with our emotions.�
Koch Rajbongshi Chatra Sanmelani leader Hiteswar Barman said they too were not satisfied with the outcome of the talks. The government is playing politics, he alleged.
Nipen Khanikar of the Chutiya Jatiya Sanmelani said that they would prefer to wait till June 30. �But if the report of the committee does not come by then we will not allow the government to function,� he threatened.
Rajan Kumar of the Assam Tea Tribe Students Association said that the BJP will suffer the same fate as the Congress if their demand is not met.
Meanwhile, Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students Union president Biswajit Rai told newsmen here that they were not happy with the talks as the government failed to give a satisfactory reply to their demands for ST status and creation of a separate Kamatapur state.
He said the Centre has assured them to take up their demand for Kamatapur state with the governments of Assam and West Bengal. However, Assam minister Patowary said that the possibility of granting additional autonomy would also be examined.