There seems to be no respite from the ravaging flood waters in Assam on Monday. A steep rise in the water levels of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries have compounded the scene where 15 districts have been reeling under the surging waters.
According to government information, the current flood waves have affected nearly 5 lakh people who have been rendered homeless. Nearly 75,000 people have been taking shelters in the relief camps while thousands of others have been remaining trapped.
The flood waters have claimed yet another person on Sunday and with this the toll has gone up to 3. In Lakhimpur district alone, one person died and over 50,000 people covering 130 villages have reeling under flood where vital roads and bridges have been ravaged with the last couple of days.
Same scene prevails in Bongaigaon where the flash flood affected 22,000 people covering 30 villages in Srijangram and Bijni. Crops covering an area of 3,245 hectares have been damaged by the flood waters.
The situation is different in Goalpara where the current flood waves submerged around 45 villages affecting more than 20,000 people in Lakhipur.
The river Brahmaputra and its tributaries Jiabharali, Gabharu, Belsiri and Panchnoi have been flowing dangerously submerged in Sonitpur district. The worst-hit areas include Bhumuraguri, Kacharipam and Rajgar villages.
Army and NDRF personnel have been stepped up relief and rescue operations in the worst-hit districts which include Barpeta,Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, Dhemaji.
The Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Manch has put up strong objection against the political party’s promise to grantST status to the six selected communities and termed that it is purely for the interest of their vote bank for election as unconstitutional.
“The BJSM’s objection is not only because of fear of their politically and socially extinction but mainly against the political party’s unconstitutional stands. The granting of Schedule Tribe is not for political purpose but for constitutional purpose and its process is essentially constitutional, not political, BJSM president Janaklal Basumatary said.
The tribal leader said that in earlier occasion in the constitutional process the proposal for granting of ST to the said 6 communities of Assam are all rejected several times by RGI as all of them are not qualified to be defined as Schedule Tribe under Art.366(25) of the constitution of India and could not be included in the ST list of Assam in the Constitutional (Schedule Tribe) order 1950 as amended till date for constitutional purpose.
“This can not be changed by the dictate of political parties for political purpose and in accordance with the wishes of applicant 6 communities. If this is done then it will amount to committing bribery of six community voters by the political parties which is an offence under the provisions of People’s Representation Act. 1951 and utter violation of constitutional purpose of free and fair election and misuse of constitutional benefit for political party’s gain of votes, he siad.
He also opined that the much talk of committee report under Union Home Ministry is not new in processing the proposal of granting ST status to the 6 communities. Earlier there are Home Ministry cabinet note, Law Ministry cabinet note and Prime Minister cabinet note but none could justify to include the 6 communities in the definition of Schedule Tribe under Art.366(25) of the constitution which is precondition for granting ST to any community.
“Moreover there are Lokur committee report, Backward class Committee report and Joint parliamentary Committee report which did not favor the inclusion of any one of the said 6 communities as Schedule Tribe in Assam. Following the said reports and according to their own finding of tribal characteristics the Registrar General of India firmly disagreed for granting of ST status to the six communities of Assam in their separate report for each one of them several times in the constitutional (schedule tribe) amendment bills earlier, he siad.
He said it is not expected the present committee can change the earlier committee report and reverse the RGI report which will amount to change of basic constitutional purpose for favoring the political purpose of political parties. “The constitutional purpose of granting Schedule Tribe to a community is to provide constitutional safeguard and protection to the weaker section of the society in their own origin state or in the area of their predominant habitant area of their own origin state. This is not meant for the migrant from other state and not for dominant class of people not needed for any protection, not purely for political purpose, he siad.
He also stated that the Tea community of Assam is basically migrant from various states of India Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattishgarh, AP and MP etc. who came for employment as contract labor in tea companies of Assam. Subsequently they migrated to Assam for occupying the reserved forest land and tribal reserved land too illegally which is still in continuous process. They are not origin inhabitant of Assam, but migrants from other state. They are heterogeneous communities mixture of 96 different communities of different states. Some are SC, some are OBC, some are ST and some are General caste among them in their state of origin.
They totally lost their original status on migration to other state, with different environment and different working culture. So they can not claimST in migrated state of Assam even though some of them are ST in their state of origin. The ST communities of Assam also can not claimST in other migrated states of India. The Meenas are not STs in UP, Hariana, MP and Gujarat as migrated except in Rajasthan their state of origin.
The origin of Rajbangshi community is extended to Rangpur district of Bangladesh and northern districts of West Bengal. Thus the Rajbangshi or Khatriya Rajbangshi or Koch Rajbangshi whatever name it may be most of them are migrated to Assam from Bengal which is still in continuous process. Thus they can not claimST in migrated state of Assam. More over basically they do not have tribal characteristics and that is why they are not recognized as Schedule Tribe by the govt. of West Bengal and govt. of India in West Bengal their state of origin as they are not defined asST under Art. 366(25) of the constitution of India. Rather they are recognized as Schedule Caste in West Bengal as defined under Art. 366(24) of the constitution of India. Neither Assam govt. nor govt. of India can define the Koch Rajbangshi asST under Art. 366(25) of the Indian constitution unless West Bengal govt. reverses their definition as SC under Art. 366(24) of the constitution of India if they can.
The Ahoms are dominant class who are leader of greater Assamese mainstream society strengthened by assimilation of communities of Chutiya, Moran, Matak co agitators for ST status. They all lost the need for constitutional protection and thus can not be defined as Schedule Tribe under Art. 366(25) of the constitution of India.
“Thus it is already decided constitutionally the 6 communities can not be granted Schedule Tribe in Assam, he said.
The surrendered ULFA activists staged demonstration in New Delhi on Tuesday demanding inner line permit in the state apart from raising a few other issues.
At 10 in the morning, more than 50 surrendered ULFA activists thronged the Jantar Mantar in the capital and started the dharma. "We want ILP in the state. Apart from this we do demand rehabilitation of our activists at an earlier date," said a protestor.
Another protestor said, " we demand ST status for the entire state which is only the way to help Assam progress." Those who joined the national mainstream further asked the Centre to detect and deport the Bangladeshi immigrants from the state.
An ULFA militant was killed at an encounter with police and army in Kamrup district of Assam on Tuesday. According to information, the encounter took place near Boko in the lower Assam district in the wee hours. Two militants started indiscriminate firing at an army patrol party on the street as they were asked to halt. When retaliated with firing, one of the rebels died on the spot and another managed to flee from the spot. Police claimed to have recovered an AK-56 rifles along with a bag containing some cartridges, Indian currency notes and syringes. The slain militant has yet to be identified and investigation is in progress.