Centre plans to grant ST status to six Assam communities
Worried over possible demographic changes in Assam due to illegal immigration, the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is contemplating to turn the state into a tribal majority by according Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities.
The move came after pro-talk faction of ULFA, which is having peace talks with the Centre, made it clear that it would give up the demand of Assam's sovereignty only if Koch- Rajbongshis, Moran, Muttock, <g data-gr-id="26">Sootea</g>, Tai Ahom and the tea tribes communities are given ST status, a Home Ministry official said.
The <g data-gr-id="25">group-led</g> by ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa voiced strong concern over the alleged unabated illegal immigration from Bangladesh and conveyed to the government that granting ST status to six communities was the only way out to protect the interests of the indigenous people of Assam.
The BJP has been vocal against the illegal immigration from Bangladesh since early 1980s when the All Assam Students' Union launched the six-year-long agitation against Bangladeshi immigrants.
If the NDA government takes a decision granting ST status to the six communities, it would give a boost to the prospect of the BJP in the Assam Assembly elections expected to be held early next year.
All these six communities are currently listed as other backward classes and are willing to be included in the list of scheduled tribes as the new status would give them more benefits.
As per 2011 census, the total population in Assam is 3.12 crore and the total population of the five communities, along with existing tribals like Bodo, Sonowal-Kachari, Dimasa, Karbi would be around 50 per cent.