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Koch-Rajbongshi body memo to PM

By Correspondent

UDALGURI, March 4 - Along with the rest of the State, the Udalguri district committee of the All Assam Koch-Rajbongshi Sanmilani submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister on Friday through the deputy commissioner of Udalguri district.

The memorandum signed by Dandiram Deka and Braja Deka, president and secretary respectively of the organisation, lamented the dilly-dallying in according the ST status to six ethnic communities of the State by the government. The organisation staged a symbolic sit-in demonstration on Friday at Udalguri town with a demand to expedite the process of granting ST status to the ethnic communities of the region.

Regretting the �unfortunate� delay over the grant of ST status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community along with five other ethnic groups of the State, the memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister referred to a bill introduced in the tenth Lok Sabha seeking to replace the first ordinance in the last session of the Parliament, but was not taken for consideration due to the dissolution of the tenth Lok Sabha.

The memorandum further said that another bill No. 21, 1996 was introduced in the Parliament seeking to replace the third ordinance No. 30, 1996 on July 12, 1997 which was ultimately sent to the Parliamentary Select Committee, but as the validity of the third ordinance was due to expire, the ordinance was repromulgated for the fourth time vide ordinance No. 3, 1997. The Parliamentary Select Committee also submitted its report on August 14, 1997 recommending the inclusion of the Koch-Rajbongshi community of Assam in the list of ST(P), the memorandum quoted.

Lamenting the delaying process of the government, the memorandum further observed that the fourth ordinance was also allowed to lapse without repromulgation in time or introducing necessary bill seeking replacement of the ordinance No. 3, 1997 which deprived the Koch-Rajbongshis from their due benefits and protection which was granted in the third ordinance.

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