BONGAIGAON, July 16 � The United Tribal Organisation, Assam(UTOA), a common platform of Scheduled Tribes of the plains and hills, has sought total protection of their existing constitutional safeguards provided the six indigenous groups of the State be scheduled as tribe.
UTOA president Markush Basumatary clarified before the media here on Friday that they were not in any way opposed to the move by the Government to enlist the six indigenous communities of the State as tribe, they only wanted their tribal belts, blocks and autonomous councils to remain intact.
Otherwise, division of share in the existing reserved quota would be small if the number of tribal communities increases, besides it would affect the rights of the tribes on lands in belts, blocks and councils, Markush Basumatary added.
Basumatary also said, �We would definitely fail to compete with the new scheduled tribes with the existing privileges as they are already much advanced, unlike us.
Therefore the Government has to increase reservations and domain for the tribes in order to adjust the new scheduled tribes, Basumatary added.
�We appeal to the Government to ensure that the likely inclusion of other indigenous communities in the tribal list may not affect the existing scheduled tribes of the State in an adverse way�, UTOA president Markush Basumatary said.
Four tribes, namely Bodos, Rabhas, Karbis and Dimasas have united under the umbrella organisation which was formed last year to advocate the cause of the existing scheduled tribes in the State.
The tribal organisation demanded the Government to expedite the talks process with the different militant groups of the State as per the memorandum of settlement (MoS) signed between the rebels, Union and the State Government in order to bring lasting peace in the State.
The tribal body, it may be mentioned, has resolved to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister soon, so as to apprise them about their latest demand.
The present special privileges, furnished by the Union Government to the scheduled tribes for their growth and welfare are not sufficient. Hence the organisation has sought more patronage from the Union Government in order to protect their lands, belts and blocks which are under encroachment by immigrants of doubtful nationality.
The organisation endorses every initiative which can help make Assam a �tribal State� as all the tribes residing here would be protected in the real sense, Basumatary justified .
It may be mentioned that the organisation has been functioning from its head office at Bongaigaon.