BONGAIGAON, Aug 18 - “Join in the agitations or pay hefty penalties,” Biswajit Ray faction of AKRSU on Monday passed this diktat for its people through the media for ensuring mass participation in its next agitational programmes for creation of Kamatapur state and grant for scheduled tribe (ST) status.
Addressing the media at his head office here, the AKRSU president, Biswajit Ray, said that with “do-or-die motto”, they would launch their fresh agitation from August 28 by hoisting black flags in public places after holding a silent rally in the State, followed by a 12-hour rail blockade on September 14 in Bongaigaon, bicycle rally on September 29 and demonstration in New Delhi in October.
“If the BJP-led Union government fails to fulfil our ST and Kamatapur demands within this year, the party would not be able to get a single seat in the upcoming Assembly polls in the constituency in lower Assam and we would take legal step against the government,” Ray said.
The BJP had committed to grant ST status to the Koch-Rajbongshis after formation of its Government at the Centre ahead of the last Lok Sabha poll, but it has failed to do anything positive on this matter, he alleged and gave a call to all his community people to join their fresh agitational programmes strictly to avoid penalty of minimum Rs 500 to maximum Rs 1 lakh.
Ray, slamming Union Minister Jual Oram for his self-contradictory take on the ST issue of Koch-Rajbongshi community, said that during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2002, he (Oram) had said in the Parliament that the community had essential characteristics for getting the ST status.
Now the same minister had proposed to include the community in tribal list through new modalities, because according to him (minister), the community is not eligible for the status, Ray alleged, adding that by passing such contradictory statements, the minister has done injustice to the community and for which he and his party would have to pay the price in the upcoming Assembly poll.
“I am confused about the talks held between the leaders of my rival AKRSU faction and the Union ministers on ST issue of my community recently in Delhi, hence I demand the Union government to reveal the ‘modalities’ which have been fixed for granting tribal status to any community,” said Ray.