Silchar: The Indigenous People’s Forum (IPF) has urged the Assam government to take necessary steps to initiate the process for creating a separate district with a separate autonomous council for non-Dimasas in the Dima Hasao district.
The IPF warned of a democratic movement if its demand, for which it has been raising its voice for the past many years, is not fulfilled by January.
IPF president L. Kuki and general secretary Hlima Keivom said the IPF had been raising the demand for a separate district with an autonomous council for non-Dimasas for the past 12 years, but the government did not pay attention. “In March 2010, the North Cachar Hills district was renamed as Dima Hasao district (to appease Dimasas) despite strong opposition from a large section of people. Since then, non-Dimasas have been raising the demand for the creation of a separate district with a separate autonomous council,” they said.
The IPF members said they have “waited enough” since then and they would have no option but launching a democratic movement if the government does not take any step to start the process of fulfilling their demand within this month.
Talking to EastMojo, IPF general secretary Hlima Keivom said the creation of a separate district with a separate autonomous council will ensure the rights and interests of the non-Dimasa people in the Dima Hasao district are protected. “We know our demands cannot be fulfilled overnight. We want the government to initiate the process of fulfilling our demand within January,” he said.
He said the state government had set up a task force under the chairmanship of (Lt) P. P. Verma, IAS, chief secretary, Government of Assam, which had submitted its report on November 16, 2011, stating the feasibility for the creation of a separate district and recommended for the setting up of two separate, independent autonomous councils for Dimasa and non-Dimasa groups of people in Dima Hasao, but no concrete step was thereafter taken regarding the implementation of the same. An announcement was also made for the creation of a separate district in the budget session of the Government of Assam in February 2019, but then again no step was taken regarding the matter. Besides that, a meeting was held between the government and IPF in September 2022 in which it was decided that a boundary demarcation commission would be constituted under the leadership of a retired high court judge or a retired IAS officer in connection with the issue, but the government did not pay attention later, he rued.
Further, he stressed that the Assam government should treat the matter with utmost importance and initiate appropriate steps so that their long-pending demand is fulfilled.
Reacting on the matter, the general secretary of Dimasa Students’ Union, Dima Hasao unit, Pramith Sengyung told EastMojo the IPF has been raising the demand over the years to “garner attention” and “gain political benefits”. “This is a politically-motivated move. We are strongly against the separation of the district,” Sengyung said.
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He claimed both Dimasas and non-Dimasas enjoy equal rights and opportunities in the Dima Hasao district and there is no discrimination or partiality with the non-Dimasa people as claimed by the IPF.
Dima Hasao Trinamool Congress Committee convener Aching Zeme said everyone in this democratic country has the right to raise demands, but this should disturb peace in the society in any way.
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