Village headmen came out in large numbers to protest at the Semson Sing Ingti Memorial Park in Diphu, Karbi Anglong Credit: EastMojo image

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Diphu: Village headmen, including their wives, from several parts of Assam’s Karbi Anglong on Tuesday took to the streets in protest against the delay in implementing of ‘Ser Van Kep’ (traditional village councils) in the district.

As per sources, village headmen in large numbers from the hill district under the banner of Karbi Rong Asar Amei came out in large numbers and gathered at the Semson Sing Ingti Memorial Park in Diphu on Monday.

The protesters raised their demanded to the chief executive member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) for an early implementation of ‘Ser Van Kep’ and implementation of the Para 2 Sub-Para 7 of the 6th schedule to the Constitution for framing the new rules by KAAC.

Besides carrying out a mass procession from Semson Sing Ingti Memorial Park to KAAC headquarters at Diphu, the village headmen and their wives submitted a bill prepared by KRAA and a separate memorandum to the CEM for setting up and implementation of Ser Van Kep.

Interestingly, the civil society organisation claimed that it had submitted a memorandum to the KAAC CEM twice earlier on December 6, 2017 and on October 13, 2018, and an ultimatum on December 27, 2018, for implementation of the same.

In its memorandum, the village headmen under the banner of KRAA urged KAAC urged to codify the existing customary laws for the setting up of a traditional village council and also demanded to carry out the order of the Supreme Court judgement dated July 13, 2018 under Para 2 Sub-Para 7 of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution for framing of new rules.

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The village headmen’s organisation also demanded the KAAC for restricting distribution of land under Professional Grazing Reserve (PGR), Village Grazing Reserve (VGR) and Reserve Forest to non-tribal people. The civil organisation further expressed their opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and urged for sets of other issues, including a uniform civil code, nomination of three non-tribal persons as MACs and displeasure over setting up of a Panchayati Raj system.

Besides demanding a traditional village council, the village headmen also raised their voice against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

Speaking to media, Avinash Ronghang, president of Karbi Farmers’ Association, on behalf of KRAA expressed that they want ‘Ser Van Kep’ and not Panchayati Raj system in Sixth Schedule in the hill districts of Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong.

“We have been demanding time and again to the KAAC authority to implement ‘Ser Van Kep’ and if they are not going to implement it, then stronger agitation will follow,” Ronghang added.

Among other top civil body leaders who supported the village headmen’s protest in Karbi Anglong were Hills Tribal League chairman Saising Rongpi and convenor Ratan Terang.

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