NEW DELHI, April 29 - In an attempt to put pressure on the BJP-led NDA government, the Congress party has called for introduction of a Bill granting Schedule Tribe status to the six communities in Assam in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of the Parliament.
The matter was raised during discussion on the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Rajya Sabha by Ripun Bora, who reminded the BJP that three months before the Assembly elections, the BJP, the government and the Tribal Affairs Minister went to Assam and made the commitment that these communities would be brought under the Scheduled Tribes List within six months.
“Now, I would like to know from the Minister whether in his reply he would kindly assure that during the coming Monsoon Session of Parliament the Bill would be brought for including these six communities of Assam in the List, for giving them the ‘Scheduled Tribe’ status.
“I must mention about a very, very long-standing issue of Assam, though it is not related to Scheduled Caste. It is related to Scheduled Tribes. That is inclusion of six tribes of Assam, including, Koch-Rajbongshis, Tai Ahoms, tea tribes, Morans, Motoks and Chutiyas. For the last two decades, this matter is pending on one pretext or the other.
“It is surprising to know that during the time of our former President Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, the Koch-Rajbongshis was given the Scheduled Tribes status by a Presidential Ordinance. But, unfortunately, thereafter, no Bill was passed and it was not made an Act,” Bora said delivering his maiden speech.
“So far the tea tribes community of Assam is concerned, all these tea tribes community people have migrated from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and undivided Bihar. When the British came to Assam and established the tea gardens, they took these labourers to Assam as tea garden workers. What happened is that these communities are getting Scheduled Tribe status in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, but only in Assam have they been deprived of getting the Scheduled Tribe’s status,” Bora said giving a brief background.
“In this regard, I would like to draw the attention of the government to the fact that during the last Lok Sabha elections, in 2014, the present Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, made a commitment that if the NDA came to power, within six months these six communities would be enlisted in the Scheduled Tribes List. But those six months are not yet over.