SILCHAR, June 26 – Echoing the anger of the tribal population in the State of being deprived from being enlisted in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) upgradation, the All Assam Tribal Sangha together with nine other tribal bodies have appealed to the Government for accepting any document as proof of citizenship submitted by the tribal people.
The tribal body along with eight other tribal associations submitted a memorandum, through the Deputy Commissioners of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi respectively, to Prateek Hazela, State nodal officer of the National Registrar of Citizenship (NRC), regarding the problems faced by the hill tribal people of the valley for submitting the required legal documents for inclusion of their names in the ongoing NRC updating process.
Expressing their plight, Jamupaw Kabui, vice president of the Sangha said that about 3 lakh tribal people living in Barak Valley for decades are jeopardised. Admitting that there has been lack of awareness about the developments on the NRC among the tribal people, Kabui said because there are no proper arrangements for keeping the documents safe, often the vital papers are damaged.
Charan Tipra, vice-president of the Barak Valley Forest Rights Forum, added that the hill tribal communities of the valley live in difficult conditions and are largely unaware of the procedure needed to be followed for the NRC upgradation. Also the names of the hill tribes are difficult to pronounce and are often erred in the government records. He mentioned that the Government of India had passed the Forest Rights Act, 2006 enacting that the Scheduled Tribes are the traditional dwellers of the land. “There are about 650 tribal villages in the valley. Out of which more than 70% of the population won’t be able to furnish any document to prove their citizenship. Hence, special provisions must be made so that these people can enlist themselves in the NRC,” Tipra was quoted as saying. It may be mentioned that the tribal bodies will host a mass meeting at Guwahati on June 28 to discuss the issue and decide on the future course of action.