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Koch Rajbongshi bodies firm on Kamatapur demand

By KALYAN BAROOAH

NEW DELHI, Nov 7 � Even as the Centre advised the organisations representing the Koch Rajbongshi community to stick to the demand for the Schedule Tribe (ST) status, the outfits declined to scale down their demand insisting on the creation of a separate State of Kamatapur spread over the States of Assam and West Bengal.

Officials of the Home Ministry and the Assam Government on Thursday held two separate rounds of meetings with organisations demanding a separate Kamatapur State. The talks chaired by Joint Secretary (North East), Shambhu Singh, was joined by State Home Secretary Mukti Gogoi, who represented the Assam Government, besides top officials.

In the morning, the officials met the Biswajit Ray faction of the Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students� Union (AKRSU) and in the afternoon they met Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha, a forum of 11 Koch Rajbongshi organisations.

Later, talking to newsmen, Mukti Gogoi said that they have advised the organisations to concentrate on the demand for ST status, as much progress has been made in this regard. �Today we have received their charter of demands, which we will discuss,� he said.

�Today, there was no discussion on the details of their demands, but we have conveyed that the government would try to help in regard to the demand for ST status. We have asked them to approach the RGI. We have advised them not to focus on the demand for demarcation of political boundary, which is full of pitfalls,� he said. The pitfalls that the State Home Secretary was referring to were the overlapping demands for creation of Kamatapur and Bodoland. The map of the proposed Kamatapur State includes Bodoland areas.

Claiming that discussion on the creation of a separate State has failed, the chief advisor of the Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha and former Lok Sabha MP Madhab Rajbongshi said that they are shocked by the statement of the Joint Secretary (North East) that they have not been authorised to discuss about creation of new States. �If they are not authorised, then why did they invite us for talks?� he told this newspaper. �We are disappointed with the attitude of the Central Government,� he said.

However, on the issue of ST status, he said that the Home Ministry officials assured that they have managed to achieve 70 per cent progresss. They are working on the remaining 30 per cent, Rajbongshi quoted the officials as having said.

According to the political map of the proposed Kamatapur submitted by the Biswajit Ray faction of AKRSU, they have projected an area of 57,904,088 square km spread over 16 districts of Assam and six districts of West Bengal. They have estimated a total population of 89,46,931. They have projected an Assembly of 117 Constituencies including 67 from Assam and 50 from West Bengal.

On the other hand, Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha has projected a Kamatapur State with 20 districts, including 14 belonging to Assam and six to West Bengal. The proposed State would have 119 Legislative Assembly seats, including 65 of Assam and 54 in West Bengal. They have projected an area of 54039.9 sq km with 14 Lok Sabha seats.

Later, taking to newsmen, Ray said that today�s round of talks were fruitful. �The Government of India has asked for detailed format of the proposed Kamatapur State, specifying population, LAC, Lok Sabha, political boundaries, etc., which we have submitted today.�

�We have demanded that the next round of talks should be at the Prime Minister level, as such negotiations cannot go on forever,� he added.

He also referred to a meeting with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, which he described as positive. The Chief Minister has conveyed that he would give his opinions once the Centre seeks his suggestions.

�We have told the Centre that we are not interested in political safeguards like creation of autonomous councils, but geographical safeguards,� he said.

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Koch Rajbongshi bodies firm on Kamatapur demand

NEW DELHI, Nov 7 � Even as the Centre advised the organisations representing the Koch Rajbongshi community to stick to the demand for the Schedule Tribe (ST) status, the outfits declined to scale down their demand insisting on the creation of a separate State of Kamatapur spread over the States of Assam and West Bengal.

Officials of the Home Ministry and the Assam Government on Thursday held two separate rounds of meetings with organisations demanding a separate Kamatapur State. The talks chaired by Joint Secretary (North East), Shambhu Singh, was joined by State Home Secretary Mukti Gogoi, who represented the Assam Government, besides top officials.

In the morning, the officials met the Biswajit Ray faction of the Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students� Union (AKRSU) and in the afternoon they met Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha, a forum of 11 Koch Rajbongshi organisations.

Later, talking to newsmen, Mukti Gogoi said that they have advised the organisations to concentrate on the demand for ST status, as much progress has been made in this regard. �Today we have received their charter of demands, which we will discuss,� he said.

�Today, there was no discussion on the details of their demands, but we have conveyed that the government would try to help in regard to the demand for ST status. We have asked them to approach the RGI. We have advised them not to focus on the demand for demarcation of political boundary, which is full of pitfalls,� he said. The pitfalls that the State Home Secretary was referring to were the overlapping demands for creation of Kamatapur and Bodoland. The map of the proposed Kamatapur State includes Bodoland areas.

Claiming that discussion on the creation of a separate State has failed, the chief advisor of the Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha and former Lok Sabha MP Madhab Rajbongshi said that they are shocked by the statement of the Joint Secretary (North East) that they have not been authorised to discuss about creation of new States. �If they are not authorised, then why did they invite us for talks?� he told this newspaper. �We are disappointed with the attitude of the Central Government,� he said.

However, on the issue of ST status, he said that the Home Ministry officials assured that they have managed to achieve 70 per cent progresss. They are working on the remaining 30 per cent, Rajbongshi quoted the officials as having said.

According to the political map of the proposed Kamatapur submitted by the Biswajit Ray faction of AKRSU, they have projected an area of 57,904,088 square km spread over 16 districts of Assam and six districts of West Bengal. They have estimated a total population of 89,46,931. They have projected an Assembly of 117 Constituencies including 67 from Assam and 50 from West Bengal.

On the other hand, Koch Rajbongshi Jatiya Mahasabha has projected a Kamatapur State with 20 districts, including 14 belonging to Assam and six to West Bengal. The proposed State would have 119 Legislative Assembly seats, including 65 of Assam and 54 in West Bengal. They have projected an area of 54039.9 sq km with 14 Lok Sabha seats.

Later, taking to newsmen, Ray said that today�s round of talks were fruitful. �The Government of India has asked for detailed format of the proposed Kamatapur State, specifying population, LAC, Lok Sabha, political boundaries, etc., which we have submitted today.�

�We have demanded that the next round of talks should be at the Prime Minister level, as such negotiations cannot go on forever,� he added.

He also referred to a meeting with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, which he described as positive. The Chief Minister has conveyed that he would give his opinions once the Centre seeks his suggestions.

�We have told the Centre that we are not interested in political safeguards like creation of autonomous councils, but geographical safeguards,� he said.

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