Tribals demanding statehood reject Centre’s offer of more powers to autonomous councils

The Karbis in Central Assam’s Karbi Anglong, who too are fighting to achieve a separate state, rejected the Centre’s offer. 

Published: 24th January 2019 06:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th January 2019 06:33 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Tribals in Northeast, fighting for statehood, have spurned the Centre’s offer of more powers and funds to ten autonomous councils falling under Sixth Schedule areas of the region.

The tribals in Tripura say they will not accept anything short of statehood. “This (more powers and funds to autonomous council) is not our agenda. Our political agenda is for a separate state,” SC Noatia, who is the general secretary of Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) youth wing, told this correspondent.

The IPFT is a constituent of Tripura’s BJP-led coalition government. “We thought the Centre’s decision is aimed at keeping us in a good humour given that Lok Sabha election is round the corner. However, we cannot accept this,” he added.

The tribals in the state, who have been outnumbered by Bengali migrants, are fighting to achieve a separate state. Some of them had embraced the gun and formed two insurgent groups to secure statehood but the dream remains unfulfilled to this day.

The Karbis in Central Assam’s Karbi Anglong, who too are fighting to achieve a separate state, rejected the Centre’s offer. 

“This is nothing but to hoodwink our people. The people of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts have been for decades demanding an autonomous state. Instead of fulfilling it, the Centre has come out with something else. We are not amused,” former MLA Holiram Terang, who is the president of Autonomous State Demand Committee, said.

He felt the Centre cannot now go for Constitutional amendment as required to grant more powers and funds to the ten autonomous councils.

“This government cannot go for Constitutional amendment now, for it has to bring a bill in Parliament. The upcoming session of Parliament is the Budget session. Here, the government cannot introduce a new bill. So, this government is not going to do anything about it, constitutionally or legally,” he added. 

The Centre’s decision is being seen in the Northeast as an election gimmick. The Union Cabinet had approved constitutional amendment to increase the powers of the autonomous councils.

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