New Delhi, March 11, 2019
As the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the dates of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the leaders of six communities demanding Scheduled Tribes (ST) status met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the party head office in New Delhi on March 11th, 2019.
The six communities in Assam – Chutia, Motok, Moran, Koch-Rajbongshi, Tai-Ahom and Tea Tribes/Adivasis – have been demanding ST status for a long time now.
“Granting ST status shouldn’t be an election issue because it is our right. After the election, whichever party comes to power, they should grant us ST status,” said a leader.
“We have reminded Rahul Gandhi that ST status was a 2014 election promise of the Congress. The demand was not met even after the BJP came into power. If voted to power, Congress should fulfill its election promise. Rahul Gandhi assured that he will look into it,” said another representative.
The Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Upper House of the parliament – Rajya Sabha on January 9th, 2019 but the House rejected it.
The Centre’s plan for the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has evoked anger among tribal communities in Assam. The All Bodo Students’ Union also opposed the Centre’s move to grant ST status to the six communities.