Home India Politics Government wants fair deal for Assam tribals: Patil

Government wants fair deal for Assam tribals: Patil


New Delhi : The government stated Monday that it wanted to give a fair deal to the tribal communities in Assam despite successive state governments making contradictory recommendations. However, it did not assuage the opposition, which walked out of the Lok Sabha.

Replying to a calling attention motion on the recent mob violence in Guwahati during a march by protesting tribals, Home Minister Shivraj Patil alleged that the opposition was taking a political stand on the issue instead of “sharing their wisdom to solve the problems” in the northeastern state.

One person was killed and 242 people were injured in the Nov 24 violence during a demonstration by the All Adivasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA) to demand Scheduled Tribe status.

Almost all the 14 MPs from different parties, speaking on the calling attention motion raised by Communist Party of India (CPI)’s Ajoy Chakraborty, demanded that the tribal communities be given Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

However, Patil said successive governments in Assam had given contradictory report on their demand. Pointing out that there were several organisations opposing the AASAA’s demands, he said: “We need to take a balanced stand. And I want all of you to advise the central government on this.”

Although the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition demanded a Central Bureau of Inquiry (CBI) into the violence, Patil said the state government had not sought it. He said the CBI was already burdened and the probe would be further delayed.

The opposition, however, insisted on a CBI inquiry and a declaration of ST status for the protesting tribals.

“It is unfortunate that the opposition is taking a political stand without understanding the complexities of the issue,” Patil said.

The home minister said he would not be surprised if a terrorist organisation takes advantage of the sensitive situation in the state.

“What happened in Assam is condemnable,” said Patil, adding, “The situation is under control.”