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Adivasis resuming agitation for ST status

The Adivasi groups are all set for a fresh agitation demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The action is starting with a seven-hour rail blockade on December 19 when Parliament will be holding its winter session.

The decision to launch the massive agitation was finalized at a recent Adivasi National Convention where the angry leaders decided to step up protests against the BJP led NDA government at the Centre since before election the party promised it.

The convention is an umbrella body of 17 Adivasi organisations, including five militant groups in ceasefire.

Adivasi leader Birsing Munda told Assam Times on Saturday that its members would block tracks in Kokrajhar, Mazbat in Darrang, Rangapara in Biswanath and Bokajan in Golaghat districts from 6am to 1pm as part of their agitation.

“Now we have decided to mobilise our members to step up protest politically ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. We demand that the Centre clear the process to accord ST status to the Adivasis during the winter session of Parliament, failing which we will continue to fight against the BJP," Munda said.

He is a former "commander-in-chief" of the Birsa Commando Force, one of the five militant groups that laid down arms following an appeal from the Centre in 2012.

They demanded that the number of designated camps for members of the militant groups be increased from five which are not sufficient for more than 1,200 cadres. The organisations also demanded an increase in their monthly stipend of Rs 3,000.

 

The convention will also organise a daylong protest at Joypur in Kokrajhar district on December 23, demanding justice to the families of 80 Adivasi villagers who were gunned down by suspected NDFB (Songbijit) militants on December 23, 2014. They will also organise a rally here on February 15 on the same demands.

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Borengajuli Tea Estate Dimakuchi, Udalguri, Assam

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