Diphu: The Karbi Students’ Association (Greater Guwahati, Shillong, Nagaon, Tezpur, Khetri, Jorhat, Hojai, Golaghat, Lanka and Lumding) have jointly released a press statement Monday on the recently-signed Karbi Anglong Peace Accord with the Centre and state governments.

While applauding the peace accord wherein “the armed groups have come overground to negotiate for this peace deal and also bring much needed additional funds to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC)”, the statement read they were “aggrieved that in signing this settlement some clauses have been inserted”.

“These anti-tribal clauses, which have been forced on the signatories, are under Clause 2 of the settlement. The most dangerous is sub-clause 2.3 which opts to open 10 of the 44 elected seats for all communities. This goes against the very object of the Sixth Schedule. And the bar on non-tribal(s) contesting in the elected seats is reflected in the very words of debate in the Constituent assembly. It was stated that non-tribal(s) could seat in the council by being nominated only but not through election,” the association said.

“It is evident that in a ‘tribal area’, as defined in the schedule, only tribal(s) have a right to stand for election. That is why at the inclusion of the BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council) into the schedule in 2003, since a majority of the population was non-tribal, a specific reservation clause for the different communities was included in the modified schedule applies only to the BTC area. Therefore, to enforce such a formula in the original Sixth Schedule area of KAAC is against the object of the schedule,” the statement added.

“Furthermore, the settlement aims to place more high ranking officials of the state government to oversee the functioning of the KAAC, thereby encroaching on its autonomy and impeding the direct relationship between the council and the Governor. We are also aggrieved that such important matters under Clause 2 were not placed before the people for discussion and that the indigenous tribal organisations were not taken into confidence,” the student association said.  

The students stressed that they welcome the peace process but reserve their right to “condemn the violation of the hallowed principles of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India at the altar of ‘majoritarian’ politics.”

Karbi students studying in several parts of Assam and beyond have requested the ‘Team Karbi Anglong’— its leaders CEM Tuliram Ronghang, MP Horensing Bey, the MLAs and all of its members, to be more responsible with the responsibility they hold in the KAAC, the statement further read.

The students said that elected members are representatives of the Karbi people, and it is their duty to carry out the voice of the people.

Also read | Protests erupt in Karbi Anglong after signing of Karbi peace accord

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