HAILAKANDI, Oct 3 - The members of the United Democratic Liberation Front of Barak Valley, a Reang outfit, which is in ceasefire, has demanded creation of Reang Area Development Council for the Reang people living in Barak Valley villages. Addressing a press conference in Katlicherra, the members of the outfit said that the proposed council will cover 40,000 Reang people and 60 villages from Hailakandi and 17 villages each from Karimganj and Cachar districts in South Assam. They alleged that the Reang tribe of Assam has been denied benefits.
In India, 33 development councils have been constituted but the Reangs remain the victim of discrimination. It may be mentioned here that 306 cadres of the outfit surrendered and laid down their arms in September, 2008 before the former Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi in Guwahati. The outfit was formed in 2002 by a section of Reang people with an objective of creating a separate homeland for the tribal population in Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.
Besides forming the development council, they also demanded ST (Hill) status to the Reang people living in Assam.
They also demanded implementation of Forest Dwellers (Forest Right) Act, 2006 in Reang areas for jhum cultivation. They informed that the state government representatives, including top police brass held two rounds of discussion with them during the last couple of years and physical verification of cadres were also done but no action was taken for their rehabilitation and they are now facing serious problem to manage their livelihood.