Guwahati: Hopes and aspirations are running high among the tea-tribe community and several backward groups in Assam as they look up to Droupadi Murmu, who was on Monday sworn in as India’s 15th President, for fulfilment of their Constitutional rights and socio-economic empowerment.
All tribal groups in the northeastern state are elated by her rise to the highest Constitutional post and people belonging to the tea-tribe community are optimistic that Murmu will take steps to ensure granting of the Scheduled Tribe status to them.
The tea-tribe community, comprising Mundas, Oraons, Santhals, Bhumij and others, in Assam are descendants of labourers who were brought from Chotanagpur plateau areas by the British to work in tea gardens but they have not been granted the ST status as their brethren in the states of Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Adivasi National Convention Committee secretary Bir Singh Munda said Murmu, as the constitutional head, has the power to ensure that the long-pending demand of the Adivasis in Assam for the ST status is fulfilled.
“We also hope that various issues related to land and forest rights, language, education, socio, cultural and economic development of the Adivasis and all backward communities will be addressed so that they can move ahead towards progress and prosperity,” he said.
The tribal people comprise 12.45 per cent of the state’s population.
All Adivasi Students’ Association, Assam (AASAA) founder secretary general Joseph Minz said, I expect the Bill for the Scheduled Tribe status for Adivasis of Assam will be signed by the tribal President.
Prominent Adivasi advocate and rights activist Shyam Tudu said that forest laws should be simplified and amended in favour of the tribals as most of them live in and around forests.
Even after 75 years of Independence, the tribals and Adivasis in the state remained backward but we hope that the situation will now improve, he said.
The rights activist also said they expect that she will take necessary steps to ensure that the customs and traditions of tribals are preserved so that the future generation can take pride in their society and culture.
Former Union minister and a prominent tea-tribe leader of the Congress Paban Singh Ghatowar was also effusive on Murmu winning the Presidential election.
Prominent tea-tribe leader and former president of All Adivasi Student Association of Assam Raphael Kujur said they are hopeful that the 15th President of the country will work for the empowerment of the downtrodden people and women.
We also hope that she will bring equality, justice and peace to the tribals so that they can join the mainstream of the society, he said.
Not only Adivasis, people from other tribes of the state, such as Bodos, Mishings, Dimasas, Karbis, Sonowal, Rabha, Sonowal and Hajongs, expressed happiness and hoped that Murmu will help improve the socio-economic conditions of tribals.
Bodo Sahitya Sabha secretary Jwngsar Narzary said Murmu becoming the President of the country is an honour for all tribals .
I am sure that she will work towards safeguarding and securing the Constitutional rights of all tribals and downtrodden communities of the country, he said.
United Peoples’ Party Liberal leader Mariam Toppo said Murmu’s election for the top Constitutional post has raised the dignity of tribals and women of the world .
She will be a source of inspiration for all the indigenous communities across the world, the UPPL leader said.
Prominent Karbi writer and Padma Shri awardee Dhaneswar Engti said all tribals of the country are hopeful that she would understand the mindset and aspirations of the community and will play a positive role in realising these .
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