NEW DELHI: The Chief Secretary of Assam seems to be oblivious to a notice served on him by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) upon the direction passed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Supreme Court advocate and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy had filed a petition on April 6, 2011, in the NHRC mentioning the sorry state of affairs of a village in northern Assam, where the government has not been able to tell them which district their village belongs to. Over 2,500 voters abstained from voting and many threatened to attempt self-immolation. The government has not been able to tell them which district their village belongs to, said Tripathy.
In 1993, when the Bodoland Autonomous Council was created, the village was included in Udalguri district though 85 per cent of the population were non-tribals. In 1999, the village was brought back under Darrang. In 2003, when the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was formed, the village was included in it.
The villagers have been sending appeals right up to the Prime Minister and the President for 18 years. Nobody seems bothered, Radhakanta added.
In 2005, BTC elections took place in Baska district and the villagers boycotted the same. Till 2008, they were under Bonmajha panchayat. Three days before the 2008 panchayat polls, the villagers were told that they were excluded because they were under the BTC.”
The rules say a village must be contiguous to other tribal villages and should have Bodo population over 50 per cent for inclusion in the council. “The village is not contiguous to any Bodo village and the Bodo population is hardly 14 per cent,” said a local.
Despite memorandums, the people have been deprived of various welfare schemes, like the Indira Awas Yojana, MGNREGA and old-age pension, because the Darrang district authorities do not want to take the responsibility of a village included in the BTC, added Tripathy.
He requested the apex body of the human rights to act swiftly to ensure that the human rights of the villagers, who have been victimised by the inaction of the state were restored. The Chief Secretary was asked to make an enquiry and submit the report and also clarify the stand of the government on this important issue on August 14, 2011. However, the chief babu of the state is yet to respond.