NRC: urged to include all STs in the NRC as the original inhabitants of Assam

New Delhi, Sept 02: The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) in a press statement today stated that over one lakh Scheduled Tribes who are the original inhabitants of Assam have been excluded from the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on 31.08.2019.

“A preliminary survey states that about 25,000 Bodos, 9,000 Reangs, 8,000 Hajongs and thousands of persons belonging to other tribes have been excluded from the NRC. As per the affidavit filed by the Assam government before the Supreme Court in February 2019 with respect to the petitions filed for eviction of those whose claims  of land ownership had been rejected under the Forest Rights Act, the government of Assam had stated that it rejected the claims of 22,398 Scheduled Tribes under the FRA because of the inability to prove residency in the forest land prior to the 13th day of December 2005”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of the RRAG.

 

“About 25% of about 36,000 Reangs in Hailakandi district were excluded from the NRC. An overwhelming majority of the Reang women have been excluded because of the inability to prove the legacy from 1971. The Reangs are shifting cultivators and have an extremely low literacy rate and are identified as one of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)”.

With the exception of educational degrees and land documents, women do not have independent identity documents and always identified as daughter or wife of the male member. Once they are married, the legacy is lost as they are deleted from the family ration cards and for this reason alone, an overwhelming majority of the Reang women have been excluded.” – also stated Mr Chakma.

 

“It is a travesty that none of the Scheduled Tribes of Assam has been listed as original inhabitants of Assam but the Supreme Court vide its order dated 21 July 2016 clarified that the expression “original inhabitants of the state of Assam” would include the Tea Tribes.” – further stated Mr Chakma. 

 

The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) urged the Government of Assam and Union of India to issue a notification to include all the Scheduled Tribes in the NRC as the original inhabitants of Assam.

 

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