GUWAHATI: People living in 500 villages located under the state’s Margherita Assembly Constituency along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh has been contemplating to annexed their villages with the neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh.
Thanks to Dispur’s apathy that thousands living in these remote villages have now decided to even meet Arunachal Pradesh’s chief minister Pema Khandu and urge him to take over the responsibility of them and their villages.
Giving an ultimatum to the state government here to take up their long-pending demands and provide them a dignified life, around 70,000 voters from these villages have decided to even boycott the ensuing state polls of 2021.
The Tirap Autonomous District Council Demand Committee, an umbrella body of all the local groups in these villages, told TIME8 on Friday said, “We will approach the government of Arunachal Pradesh for reorganisation and inclusion of the areas in the neighbouring state in order to escape alleged decade-long deprivation.”
The umbrella body believed that creating an autonomous district council encompassing all the villages would help them ease the problems and gain the state government’s attention.
Council spokesperson Pallav Shyam Wailung said that the voters would also be forced to boycott the state’s assembly election scheduled for 2021 if their demands are not addressed in the ensuing Assembly session scheduled on August 31.
“We have already initiated talks with the neighbouring state. If our grievances are not addressed during the budget session, we will approach the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh for the early inclusion of our villages. We have been suppressed, neglected and deprived of our basic rights decades after a decade in Assam,” Wailung said.
He also reminded that some seven years back, villages like Mulong Pahar 1, 2 and 3, Rongringkhan 1 and 2, Thinghuru 1 and 2 and Honju Wara in the area, had already merged with Changlang district of eastern Arunachal Pradesh. “The people of those villages are already casting votes in a neighbouring state,” he said.
He further added that another 11 Assam villages had merged with different constituencies of Arunachal Pradesh – five with Bordumsa and six with Jairampur in Arunachal territory too.
“The merger will continue until our demands are fulfilled. The administration in Assam is not bothered by our grievances. Rather, they (government of Assam) are concerned and proactive to encourage the coal miners to continue exploiting our land and mineral resources,” he spokesperson said.
The territory of the proposed Tirap Autonomous District Council which comprises the Tirap tribal belt in Tinsukia district of eastern Assam is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous tribal communities like – Songpho, Tangsa, Sema, Maan, Tai Phake, Tai Khamyang, Tai Aiton, Tai Turung, Mising, Deori, Sonowal Kochari, Mech Kochari and other minor indigenous communities.
“Our demand is genuine and historic. The proposed map for the autonomous district council is already a declared tribal belt. Moreover, the territory is predominantly inhabited by indigenous tribal communities. Decade-long deprivation has endangered our culture, language and identity. Administrative negligence has also politically and economically paralyzed us,” Wailung added.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Dibrugarh MP Rameswar Teli told TIME8, “I am not aware of the allegation. Nobody has enlightened me on the matter. Even no delegates of the Tirap Autonomous District Council Demand Committee met me earlier.”