GOALPARA, Jan 11 - The United Garo Autonomous Council Movement Committee (UGACMC) has demanded a separate Garo Autonomous Council within the framework of the Indian Constitution in order to fulfil the aspirations of the Garo community in Assam so that they can preserve their distinct identity and protect their unique culture, tradition and language.
In a release issued to the Press, the Committee demanded exclusion of all the Garo villages from the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) and formation of a separate Garo Autonomous Council (GAC) immediately.
The Committee also mentioned that the Garo community has decided to boycott election in the RHAC until all their demands are fulfilled.
The release also claimed that even though the Garo community is the second-largest ethnic tribe after the Bodo community and the largest tribe in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) area, outnumbering the Rabha tribe, very little has been done till date by the RHAC to preserve and promote the linguistic identity, culture, social heritage, customs and tradition of the Garo community residing in the RHAC areas.
The Committee mentioned, as Scheduled Tribe status was granted in 2003, since then the demand for separate Garo Autonomous Council by various Garo organisations has become a pivotal issue time and again so that the fruits of development trickle down to the grassroots and discontentment has been brewing within the Garo community as the leadership of RHAC is reluctant in sharing power with the Garo people for the greater development of the community.
The UGACMC also blamed the RHAC for improper utilisation of allocated funds which itself is meagre and insufficient for implementation of any developmental scheme in the Garo-dominated areas.
The UGACMC also added that the present situation in the RHAC is not conducive for contemporaneous existence of both the Garo as well as the Rabha communities as their problems can be redressed only by creation of a separate Garo Autonomous Council where the Garos may eventually enjoy autonomy or self governance, grassroots democracy and overall development.