Guwahati, 05.11.2016: The President of India had promulgated the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Ordinance on 27th January, 1996, which was re-promulgated three times, granting the Koch-Rajbongshi community of Assam, S.T(P) status for one year. After 20 years of dilly-dallying by the Central and State Govt., holding numerous talk’s right up to the level of the Union Home Minister, the State Govt. has now appointed a senior Police Officer as a Mediator to liaise with the organizations demanding S.T status, which is nothing but a big farce and an insult to the Koch-Rajbongshi community. Nothing further needs to be done in regard to the Scheduling of the Koch-Rajbongshi community, other than to introduce the Bill in the Parliament for voting, for the following among other reasons:
Guwahati, 05.02.2018: A Public Interest Litigation has been filed before the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court by senior and leading citizens of Guwahati, for the removal of encroachment from Chilarai Park at Amingaon, North Guwahati, including protection and upkeep of the said park premises, wherein an 18 ft. tall bronze statue of Biswa Mahabir Chilarai is also present.
Chilarai Park was built around 1992 in memory of legendary Koch General and Dewan (Prime Minister) Sukladhwaj, popularly known as ‘Chilarai’, who is respected and revered by the people of Assam and beyond, not only for his legendary military exploits but also for – (i) rebuilding the Kamakhya temple in 1565 A.D, which was supposedly destroyed by Kalapahar; (ii) for giving protection and patronage to Srimanta Sankardev, for which he could start a social reformation movement and a renaissance of literature in the region, (iii) for building roads under his leadership from Koch Beehar to Lakhimpur and from Guwahati to Silchar over which State and National Highways have now come up.
Therefore, Chilarai Park not only holds great historical significance to the people of Assam, but also a landmark of North Guwahati, which attracts tourists and locals alike. The resident’s of Greater Guwahati requires such public and green spaces where they can rewind and refresh from the grind of city life. It is particularly important for children to play under the open sky in such public parks, for their overall growth.
The petitioners came to learn from media reports and through investigation that the Assam Police (Traffic Branch), Kamrup district have illegally encroached and set up an Outpost inside the Chilarai Park premises, including encroachment by an Auto stand. The park is also not properly maintained by the district administration and has turned into a den of anti-social elements. Many organizations including the petitioners had earlier submitted memorandum with the D.C Kamrup rural district among others, including holding meetings, but to no avail.
Being aggrieved the petitioners, namely – (i) Sri. Atul Chandra Talukdar, retired HoD, Political Science, Arunachal University, (ii) Sri. Jogeswar Bora, retired Judge of the Designated Court, Assam, (iii) Sri. Nalini Ranjan Ray, senior officer of State Bank of India and (iv) Sri. Arup Jyoti Das, writer and Director of CKRSD, have filed the present PIL praying for removal of encroachment and upkeep of Chilarai Park and the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court has admitted the PIL and issued notice to Government of Assam. Advocate Santanu Borthakur and Vikram Rajkhowa appeared for the petitioners.
Arup Jyoti Das
Guwahati, 23.11.2017: The Centre for Koch Rajbanshi Studies and Development (CKRSD) has recently filed a Writ Petition before Hon’ble Gauhati High Court challenging the decision of the Central Government to apply the Modalities of 1999 and modified Modalities of 2002 for deciding the claims of the Koch-Rajbongshi community for inclusion in the S.T (Plains) lists of Assam, since the entire exercise to grant S.T (Plains) status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community was carried out during the period 1994-1997 as per the Modalities prevalent at that time, which is much before the new Modalities of 1999 and 2002.
The Hon’ble Gauhati High Court after hearing the parties has admitted the Writ Petition and issued notice to – Secretary to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Secretary to Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Registrar General of India, Chief Secretary to Govt. of Assam, Secretary to WPTBC and the Director of Tribal Research Institute, Govt. of Assam.
It is submitted by CKRSD that based on the positive report of Tribal Research Institute, Govt. of Assam and ‘No Objection’ from Registrar General of India, the Union Govt. had introduced the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order Amendment Bill, 1996, in the Lok Sabha, and the matter was also referred to the Select Committee which also recommended for the inclusion of the Koch-Rajbongshi community in S.T (Plains) lists of Assam. Meanwhile, President of India promulgated the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Ordinance, 1996 (9 of 1996) which was re-promulgated three times granting S.T (Plains) status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community for one entire year.
Before the Assam Assembly Election of 2016, many senior BJP leaders had stated that if BJP comes to power they will grant S.T (Plains) status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community, but now both the BJP government at the Centre and the State are shying away. CKRSD questions if it was another Jumla from the ruling party? The Koch-Rajbongshi people of Assam had already fulfilled and cleared all the criteria’s/ modalities prevalent during the period 1994-1997, so why do we need to prove again and again. If we were good to be granted S.T(P) status by none other than the President of India, then we are good to be granted S.T(P) status today also.
Vikram Rajkhowa Arup Jyoti Das