DIPHU, Sept 14: Several Karbi student bodies outside Karbi Anglong have expressed their dissatisfaction on the 2.3 sub-clause of the recently signed peace agreement by six insurgent groups of Karbi Anglong with the state and Central government, saying that the 10 seats open for all categories as mentioned in the peace agreement is going against the very objective of the Sixth Schedule.
In a joint press release issued by Greater Guwahati Karbi Students Association (GGKSA), Shillong KSA, Nagaon KSA, Tezpur KSA, Khetri KSA, Jorhat KSA, Hojai KSA, Golaghat KSA, Lanka KSA and Lumding KSA have stated that the student bodies are always in support to the demand of civil organisations for the protection of indigenous scheduled tribes living in Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong districts. The KSAs outside Karbi Anglong are in support of the demand of an Autonomous State which is prescribed in the Constitution of India.
The KSA leaders said, “We are happy that the armed groups have come overground to negotiate for a peace deal which will rehabilitate them and also bring much needed additional funds to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC). But we are aggrieved that in signing this settlement some clauses have been inserted which contradict the very basis for the existence of the autonomy of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC). The most dangerous among them is sub-clause 2.3 which opts for 10 seats open for all categories for all communities in the 44 elected seats in the KAAC. This goes against the very objective of the sixth schedule.”
It further said, “It is evident that in a ‘tribal area’ as defined in the schedule only tribal(s) have the right to stand for election. That is why the inclusion of the BTC into the schedule in 2003 since a majority of the population is non-tribal; a specific reservation clause for the different communities was included in the modified schedule applicable only to the BTC area. Therefore, to enforce such a formula in the original sixth schedule area of KAAC is absurd and against the object of the schedule which was aimed to give protection and autonomy to the scheduled tribes.”
The statement also said that it is unfortunate that the settlement wants to surreptitiously legitimise the proposed 125th amendment to the sixth schedule which aspires to usurp the powers of the Council derived from paragraph 2(7) read with 2(6) by entrusting the said powers relating to council elections over to the State Election Commission which is ultra vires.
Furthermore, the settlement aims to place more high-ranking officials of the state government to oversee the functions of the KAAC, thereby encroaching on its autonomy and impeding the direct relationship between the Council and the Governor. We are also aggrieved that such important matters under clause 2 were not placed before the people for discussion and that the indigenous tribal organisations were not taken into confidence as would have been the norm under the schedule, the statement said.