Kokrajhar, April 20: Traffic on National Highway 31C was disrupted for around two hours this morning when the All Adivasi Students Association of Assam staged a blockade at Karigaon and Gurufela in Kokrajhar district demanding Scheduled Tribe status.
More than hundred AASAA members from its Bongaigaon and Dhubri units also staged a joint blockade on the national highway that connects Kokrajhar, Chirang and Bongaigaon districts with Guwahati, at Chaprakata in Bongaigaon district at 10.30am for about 45 minutes.
Police arrested them for violating Section 144. “The ruling Assam government has deprived the Adivasi community in all respects,” Satyanath Tudu, president of the Kokrajhar district unit of AASAA, said.
Bongaigaon unit AASAA president Amrit Jojo said, “Barring Assam, we have been accorded ST status in all other states. Our agitation will continue unless we get it.”
Like Adivasis, five other communities, Moran, Muttock, Chutia, Tai-Ahom and Koch Rajbongshis, have been demanding ST status, too.
“Adivasis are often identified as migrant tea labourers in the state based on old historical data. Dispur has taken interest in correcting this misrepresentation. Hence the community has been deprived of constitutional safeguard. Hence our agitation,” said Bongaigaon district AASAA adviser Hiru Bagdi.
The community had been asking for tribal status for the past 40-50 years in the state. Many organisations were formed to secure the demand.