Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal heading a cabinet meeting at Janata Bhawan in Dispur Credit: Twitter file

Guwahati: Assam legislative assembly has passed bills for formation of three new autonomous councils.

State minister for welfare of plain tribes and backward classes, Chandan Brahma, introduced the Moran Autonomous Council Bill, 2020, the Matak Autonomous Council Bill, 2020 and the Kamatapur Autonomous Council 2020 at the legislative assembly.

Brahma mentioned that the Moran Autonomous Council and Matak Autonomous Council will have their territories marked out in the upper Assam region, whereas Kamatapur Autonomous Council will have its dominion in the Goalpara district.

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Even with the passage of the bills, there were questions raised by opposition MLAs about the granting the ST status to six communities namely Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Moran, Matak and tea tribes. Leader of the opposition, Devabrata Saikia demanded a response to why other communities such as Ahoms, Chutias and tea tribes are denied autonomous councils.

Congress MLA Rockybul Hussain enquired at the Assembly whether formation of autonomous councils would hinder the process of granting ST status communities. Another MLA from AIUDF, Mamun Indadul Haque Choudhary scrutinized the ruling party for geographical naming of the Kamatapur Autonomous Council and not being named after the Koch Rajbongshi community like other two councils which are named after their respective communities.

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It was also alleged by Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi that this step of creating new autonomous councils reflects the policy of ‘divide and rule’ and will cause geographical division in Assam.

Minister Brahma refuted the claims of Opposition MLAs of causing geographical divide in the state and assured that the creation of three new autonomous councils will not create any hindrance for granting ST status to the six communities. He said at the Assembly, “Granting of ST status to the six communities is the priority of the state government and the process is in the last stage.”

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