Demand in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts
How it began
The 26–year-long movement of the Autonomous State Demand Committee(ASDC)for a separate state comprising Karbi Anglong and the then North Cachar Hills district came to an end on November 30,2012 evening.After a two–day-long threadbare discussion with the ASDC leaders of the district in the 8th ASDC general conference at KASA Stadium,Chomang Kro,the last president of the party formally announced the dissolution of the ASDC party before a large gathering of ASDC activists to pave the way for the formation of a new political force namely the Hill Democratic State Party(HDSP)comprising likeminded parties to take forward the separate state demand.The ASDC movement for autonomous state started on May 17,1986.
The Karbi Students’Association(KSA),Karbi Cultural Society(KCS),Karbi Anglong Dimasa Youth Association(KADYA),Karbi Riso Nimso Asong(KRNA),Karbi Employees’ Association(KEA),Lalung Darbar and Karbi Anglong Kharvang Community(KAKC),etc joined hands to form the ASDC on May 17,1986 in a public meeting at KASA Stadium with Bharat Kumar Timung and Babu Rongpi as convenors and Elwin Teron and Dr Jayanta Rongpi as the spokesperson to fight for an autonomous state under article 244(A)of the Indian Constitution for the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills.
Declaring the dissolution of the party before the ASDC leaders,Chomang Kro said that though the party is dissolved,its objective and motto will remain intact and“We
|While all the other sister hill districts had seen the creation of the states as Nagaland,Mizoram,Meghalaya;Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong have remained the only survivors of hill districts in Assam.|
unanimously decided to dissolve it for the formation of a bigger platform for upgrading to a separate state”,he added.“Only complete separation from Assam will give us free economic,social and political life of the people of the two hill districts,”Kro said.Apart from two factions of the ASDC,former UPDS extremist,and various other organizations that floated the disbanded People’s Alliance for Peace Agreement(PAPA)are the prime movers of the of the new political party.
Response in Dima Hasao
The HSDP,of which the Central Committee members from Dima Hasao district took a strong exception to the Assam Government’s decision to extend the 5-year term of Autonomous Council,had lashed out at the government that the people of Dima Hasao district have even been deprived of exercising their democratic rights in time i.e.at the time when the 5-year term of the Council had expired and even if the Council elections have been held in Dima Hasao district those delayed elections have often been conducted only after some organization resorted to litigation in a court of law in most cases.
The HSDP members from Dima Hasao district also say that considering the hegemonic attitude of the Assam Government over Dima Hasao district such as the imposition of SIU(Service Index Unit)and TET(Teachers’ Eligibility Test)in Dima Hasao district amounting to the powers and functions of the Autonomous Council in Dima Hasao district being sabotaged,incomplete implementation of the MoU signed between the Government and the ASDC in 1995,the possibility of lack of sincerity on the part of the Assam Government in the implementation of the MoS Accord signed between the Government and both factions of Dima Halam Daogah(DHD)and so forth,it has no other option but to demand the separation of the hill districts including Dima Hasao district as a separate state from Assam.
In line with HSDP formed on 1st December,2012 at Diphu,the HSDP Dima Hasao Committee was formally formed on the 21st of January 2013 at Haflong with Mr Suraj Naiding unanimously being made President and Mr Jayanta Nunisa as Secretary of HSDP Dima Hasao Committee.In a general meeting of the HSDP,several leaders explained why the need has arisen to metamorphose the ASDC into the HSDP to demand a separate state for the two hill districts out of Assam.Earlier,the Dima Hasao district members of HSDP Jayanta Nunisa and Suraj Naiding had made an appeal to the people of Dima Hasao district to support the 12 hour Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong Bandh called on the 22nd of January 2013 demanding a separate state for the twin hill districts within Assam. Meanwhile, the members of HSDP has convened the meeting on the 21st of January 2013 at Haflong to form the party’s Committee for Dima Hasao district inviting the like-minded senior citizens,retired officers,social activists and ex-leaders of several students’organizations and other NGOs to strengthen the party in Dima Hasao.The meeting also discussed,inter alia, the election strategy to defeat the Congress-I in the general election to the Autonomous Council of Dima Hasao district, highlighting the corruption,nepotism and other malpractices of the Congress-I regime in the Council.
With the demand of a separate state for the two hills,Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao,the Hill State Democratic Party and Dimasa Women Society jointly submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister,Sushil Kumar Sinde through the Deputy Commissioner,Dima Hasao District in the month of February this year.In this connection a procession led by HSDP,President,Suraj Naiding,Secretary Jayanta Nunisa,President,Dimasa Women Society Nibita Langthasa and others was taken out at Haflong from the office of the Hill State Democratic Party marched through the major parts of Haflong town reached the office of the Deputy Commissioner,Dima Hasao district.They were shouting slogans such as-‘No Separate State, No rest’.
This memorandum detailed their justification for the demand of a separate state for the twin hill district of Assam.
The political prudence of the Union Government in dealing with the hill areas of the state,however,may not be questioned in history because while it had considered relocation of the hill areas,particularly the Khasi and Jaintia Hills,the Garo Hills and the Mizo Hills outside the administrative purview of the Government of Assam as the only available solution to resolve the said‘social problem’.It also believed that the other two hill areas;namely Mikir Hill (now renamed Karbi Anglong)and North Cachar Hills(now renamed Dima Hasao),though seemingly non-separatists at that point of time should be asked to exercise the option whether or not to remain in the state.
Therefore,as‘Autonomous Statehood’Under Article 244(A)of the Constitution of India having been effectively ruled out by the government and a solution devised within the framework of the state of Assam having been rendered ineffectual by the state’s usurping tradition,the only sustainable solution remains the complete separation of the said two hill areas from the state of Assam and the creation of a separate state for the said areas under the provision of Article 3 of the Constitution of India.
|With the demand of a separate state for the two hills,Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao,the Hill State Democratic Party and Dimasa Women Society jointly submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister,Sri Sushil Kumar Sinde|
In Article 244(A)Para 2 there are four parameters that define the character of an Autonomous State–legislative power,executive power,separate funding and status of a state.Through the signing of the MoU and the MoS,together the first two parameters had been achieved.The last two parameters may not be achieved without drastically undermining Centre-State relations as it exists today in a changed situation since 1971.That is why to achieve the dream of statehood for the twin districts;it is deemed prudent to upgrade the demand to a full-fledged Hill State.Separate statehood is therefore a common refrain and the only thing that the HSDP insisted on is that instead of having two states of Hemprek Kangthim and Dimaraji,the two hills of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao should have an inclusive polity of a common Hill State that serves the interest of all indigenous communities of the two hills.
The party said that it is futile for the government to provide funds to the Autonomous Council as it would only misuse the funds provided.Mainstream intellectuals have also been resorting to mispropaganda for some time that the Autonomous Council of Dima Hasao is incapable of run its own affairs in the midst of allegations of corruption.It was alleged that the much-hyped Rs.1000 Crore Dima Hasao scam was highlighted just to ruin the reputation of Dima Hasao rather than to make the Government take appropriate measures to bring to justice the politicians,bureaucrats and contractors involved in the scam.One of the Nehru plans according to which each hill district had to have one M.P in the Lok Sabha has not been implemented in the case of Dima Hasao (erstwhile North Cachar Hills),which is one of the backward tracts and which is categorized as an excluded area in the north east region,and thus Dima Hasao district has remained without an M.P in the Lok Sabha in spite of being a hill district. The provisions that autonomous state for Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong may be formed within the state of Assam was vividly enshrined under Article 244(A)of the Indian Constitution 40 years back,but still there is no sign of any action being taken to create an autonomous state for the two hill districts.On the contrary,the powers of the two Autonomous Councils,instead of being enhanced, have systematically been curtailed through various backdoor policies by the Assam Government.