Autonomous Movement intensified by the Karbi

(From Assam Tribune)

Bandh calls

Several organisations based in Karbi Anglong have called a 24-hour bandh in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts on December 16 in support of their demand for the creation of an autonomous State.

Telangana stirs up hornets’ nest; bandhs set to cripple

(From The Sentinel, Assam)

By our Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Dec 12: Bodoland, Karbiland, Dimaraji, Kamatapur… Assam is witnessing renewed Statehood demands by ethnic groups, thanks to the Central Government’s nod to Telangana. The situation has reached such a pretty pass in Assam that bandhs demanding Statehood are set to paralyse several parts of the State this month.

While several Dimasa bodies, including the All Dimasa Students’ Union (ADSU), Dimasa People’s Council (DPC) and Dimasa Mahila Samaj (DMS), have called a 36-hour Dimaraji bandh covering NC Hills, Karbi Anglong and parts of Nagaon and Cachar districts with effect from 5 am of December 15, the CPI(ML) has called a 12-hour Karbi Anglong and NC Hills bandh from 5 am on December 14 demanding an autonomous State.

The Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) has also called a 60-hour NC Hills and Karbi Anglong bandh from 5 am of December 15 demanding implementation of Article 244(A) relating to autonomous Statehood.

While four other Karbi bodies led by the Karbi Students’ Association (KSA) have also called a 24-hour Karbi Anglong bandh from 5 am of December 24 demanding autonomous State, the United Democratic People’s Front (UDPF), a Bodo front, has called a 24-hour Assam bandh from 5 am of December 15 demanding a separate Bodoland State. The Indigenous Tribal People’s Federation (ITPF) has extended its support to the UDPF bandh.

The Koch Rajbongshis have also joined the Statehood bandwagon demanding a separate Kamatapur State. As many as nine Koch Rajbongshi organizations of Assam and West Bengal have announced a slew of agitational programmes in support of ‘Kamatapur’. The organizations staged a fast-unto-death agitation today at Coochbehar, and will hold mass rallies in Coochbehar on December 13 and in Dhubri on December 25 in support of a separate Kamatapur State.

This apart, a number of rebel groups are already in existence among these ethnic communities, demanding separate states and sovereign nations.

The National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) seeks a separate Bodoland, the Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) demands a Dimaraji State, the Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KNLF) wants a Karbi homeland, and the Kamatapur Liberation Organization (KLO) favours a Kamatapur homeland.

The Assam Government has already rejected demands for carving out separate States of the existing one, a decision endorsed by the AGP on the floor of the State Assembly yesterday.

Karbis eye state, not autonomy

– Andhra split echo in Assam

A STAFF REPORTER  [From The Telegraph-Calcutta (KOLKATA)]

Guwahati, Dec. 12: The ripples from Telangana turned into strong currents in Assam today with the Autonomous State Demand Committee threatening to drop its demand for an autonomous state within Assam and launch a movement for a separate state comprising Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts.

The ASDC, which is spearheading a movement in the hill districts to create an autonomous state under Article 244 (A) of the Constitution, said the demand for a separate state had become imperative with the Centre failing to implement the article to ensure “free, dignified and prosperous life” for the people of the twin hill districts.

The ASDC’s announcement came a day after the United Democratic People’s Front called a 36-hour Assam bandh on December 14 to demanding a separate state for the Bodos and other indigenous tribal people of the state.

ASDC general secretary Elwin Teron told reporters that the existing Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council and the NC Hills Autonomous District Council have become puppets in the hands of Dispur. He alleged that Dispur calls the shots in every aspect of the autonomous councils in the hill districts.

“The councils have to bribe the officials of the state government to release central funds meant for Karbi Anglong and NC Hills districts. The state government dictates who should be the chief executive member or the executive members in the autonomous councils. Mohit Hojai, who diverted funds meant for the development of NC Hills to the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel) militants, was made the chief executive member of NC Hills Autonomous District Council through the dictate of the ruling Congress government in Dispur,” he alleged.

“Autonomous statehood is a commitment of the central government to the people of Karbi Anglong and NC Hills under the Article 244 (A). But the Centre has failed to honour the commitment. If the mood of the state government is any indication, the commitment will not be honoured in the near future. This is a deliberate betrayal causing deep resentment in the twin hills districts, which progressively metamorphosed into mass anger and later into an armed struggle. New Delhi’s betrayal is the cause of violence and mayhem that gripped the two hills over a decade,” Teron said.

He said the ASDC would launch a fresh agitation from December 15 to demand the announcement of a time frame by the Centre to create an autonomous state. The agitation will start with a 60-hour Karbi Anglong and NC Hills bandh from 5am on Tuesday.

The ASDC has called upon all those who support the autonomous statehood movement to attend a “mass assembly” in Diphu on December 29 to demonstrate the people’s resolve and chalk out future course of action.

“Any delay now in resolving the autonomous state demand issue is fraught with the danger of separatism and protracted extremist violence in the hills districts. Even though the ASDC wants to live with the Assamese people, it will be forced to demand a separate and independent state out of Assam in case the Centre fails to implement Article 244 (A) at the earliest,” Teron said.

Article 244A was specifically inserted in the Constitution through an amendment in 1969 for the formation of an autonomous state, comprising certain tribal areas, within the state of Assam.

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