Members of various Dimasa organisations at the news conference in Haflong on Thursday.

Silchar: Dimasa organisations including Jadikhe Naisho Hoshom (JNH), Dima Jalai Hosom (DJH), Dimasa Students’ Union (DSU) and All Dimasa Students’ Union (ADSU) have strongly opposed the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum (IPF)’s demand for bifurcation of Assam’s Dima Hasao district into two separate districts.

The Dimasa groups said the demand is based on communal lines and that there is no question of supporting it.

The reaction by the Dimasa bodies comes following a meeting between the IPF and the home and political department, Government of Assam, at Assam Administrative Staff College in Khanapara, Guwahati, on Thursday.

The IPF, which for the past many years has been demanding the bifurcation of Dima Hasao district into two districts (for Dimasas and non-Dimasas) with separate autonomous councils, was invited along with its students and women’s wings (North Cachar Hills Indigenous Students’ Forum and North Cachar Hills Indigenous Women’s Forum) for a meeting in Guwahati on April 21.

The details of the meeting were not available at the time of filing this report.

At a news conference in Haflong on Thursday afternoon, Dimasa organisations, including the JNH, DJH, DSU and ADSU, said they vehemently oppose the bifurcation of Dima Hasao district as this is based purely on communal/religious lines.

They pledged to work actively to prevent any attempt of “cleaving” the region on the basis of such “objectionable” factors. Jadikhe Naisho Hoshom (JNH) president Kumud Ranjan Kemprai said bifurcation of the district on communal lines can never be acceptable.

“We are totally against the talks between the Assam government and the ‘so-called’ indigenous people for bifurcation of our district,” Kemprai said.

He stressed that the government should not “entertain” such demands saying this would not be good for the peace and harmony of Dima Hasao district.

The general secretary of Dimasa Students’ Union (DSU) Pramith Sengyung suspected that the organisations which are trying to disturb peace in the district (by placing the demand of bifurcation of the district), perhaps have support from some other forces. “The organisations / people, which call them indigenous and are demanding bifurcation of the district, should check the definition of indigenous in the dictionary. 85 per cent people of Dima Hasao is against the district’s bifurcation,” Sengyung said.

He urged the Assam government to include all the prominent organisations of Dima Hasao in the talks over the issue so that they can provide their views and opinions.

Another member of DSU said the citizens of Dima Hasao district have been enjoying equal rights and opportunities since the renaming of the North Cachar Hills district to Dima Hasao district as there is nothing like favouring people or judging them on the basis of caste, creed and religion. Peace has been prevailing in this region over the years, the DSU members.

He claimed that the fulfillment of the IPF’s demand would drive a wedge between different communities and disturb peace. It can be mentioned that the IPF has been raising the demand for bifurcation of Dima Hasao into two districts with separate autonomous councils under provisions 1(3) (c) & 2 (1) of Articles 244 (2) and 275 (1) of the Sixth Schedule. Many memoranda were submitted to the government and many protests staged by the organisation regarding its demand in the past few years.

Dima Hasao district (earlier known as North Cachar Hills district) is one of the two autonomous hill districts in Assam. It is surrounded by Karbi Anglong district and Nagaland on North-East, Manipur on East, Hojai District on North, West Karbi Anglong district on North-West, Meghalaya on West and Cachar district on South.

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