Assam’s greatest concern in 2007

Curiously enough, each of all these five communities is also raising demand for a separate homeland within the state. The koch-Rajbongshi, for example, is fighting for a statehood called “Kamotapur” on the western bank of the Brahmaputra, besides its demand for recognition as S.C.

In order to slow down the agitation by various ethnic trivial groups, the government has in the meantime given the privilege of self-rule to as many as six communities by way of Autonomous Councils in their respective areas. Those who are enjoying this right are the Bodos, the Mising, the Rabha, the Karbi-Dimasa, the Tiwa (earlier know as Lalung) and the Deori. Each of the councils was preceded by a protracted stir. But it was not as violent as those by the Bodo autonomists. The process of arrangement can seldom be termed as a lasting solution to the tribal problem in the state. On one hand, it is poised to create disunity and encourage movements of autonomist assertion, and on the other each of the self- governing units is hardly doing any thing for the uplift of the common people  other than precious  creating an elite ruling class in the area.

What is apprehended is if the political leadership in any of the recently constituted Autonomous Council  raises a demand in the near future for the upgradation of their self-governing body into a Territorial Council with slightly more substantial powers as enjoyed by the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) , there is every likelihood of the leaders of some of the remaining Councils following suit. And, if it happens, in that case there will be social unrest threatening peace and harmony in the state.

There is a school of thought which is of the view that under these circumstances there is an imperative need for a second chamber to be formed with due representation from all these agitating tribal communities, the elected/nominated members it believes will be able to address the socio-political economic issues of their people, and the movement for separatist assertion will then subside automatically.

It may be worth-noting here that there was a seminar titled Rethinking on Reconstruction of North East India on the Basic of Ethnicity” in November 2003 organised by the dept. of Political Science of South Kamrup college. In it Dr. Sanjiv Baruah, Prof. of Amrica’s Bard University, had advocated the formation of an upper house in Assam as a means to “non-territorial solution”.

However, the school of  thought also argued that if due and proper representation is arranged in the proposed House, the problem that has  arisen from the demand for homeland can be expected to be solved. How far it will fructify is difficult to say for sure at this juncture. But then, it is also true that without a  thorough knowledge of the tribal problem, and without drumming up a definite public opinion on the issue, any hasty decision on formation of the Upper House may turn out to be a damp squib. Right now, it is to be seen how the state government tackles the problem on the demand of the six communities for upgradation to ST  status in the current years.