HAFLONG, May 1 – Demanding the immediate creation of a hill State for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, the Hills State Demand Council (HSDC) staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Dima Hasao, here on Thursday.

Later, a memorandum was submitted to the Prime Minister by Dr Jayanta Rongpi, ex-MP and convener, HSDC, Dr Jotson Bey, ex-CEM and convener, HSDC, and Holiram Terang, ex-minister and convener, HSDC, on behalf of the Hills State Demand Council and associate organisations.

The memorandum stated that the Government of India was aware of the demand of Statehood comprising the two hills districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao in the present State of Assam through numerous memoranda and representations submitted by different people’s organisations and parties in the last several years. It may be recalled that the people’s mandate was given in a massive manner at all levels like the Autonomous Council, Legislative Assembly and Parliament in many elections in the 1990s and the early years of this decade. The autonomous councils of both the hill districts had passed unanimous resolutions, demanding Statehood and the elected representatives in the Assembly and the Parliament, too, had raised the issue on several occasions, the memorandum stated.

The civil society has also unequivocally expressed its desire for Statehood through many democratic movements in the last several decades. It may be recalled that in response to a strong mass movement, the Government of India had signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Assam and the Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) and other organisations on April 1, 1995. This was naturally an interim arrangement and the core issue of the creation of a State for the two hill districts could not be resolved.

The Government of India had also signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with the United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) on November 25, 2011 and another MoS with the Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) on October 8, 2013. These two MoSes are yet to be ratified by the Parliament, let alone the implementation of the clauses, even though four years have passed. Even the latest ‘solution’ of MoS, too, did not address the core issue of Statehood. Hence, many armed groups were born on the issue of Statehood .

Therefore, a positive political solution addressing the core issue of Statehood is a must for sustainable peace and development in a geopolitically sensitive area like these two hill districts, the memorandum added.

The memorandum drew the attention of the Prime Minister towards the reorganisation of Assam and North-east India in 1969, when the State of Meghalaya was created with the hill district of Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills of the State of Assam. The then Lushai Hills also became the State of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura were also upgraded to full States from Union Territories. The two hill districts of Karbi Anglong (the then Mikir Hills) and Dima Hasao (the then North Cachar Hills), which were administered under the same Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India as the Khasi-Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills, did not join Meghalaya, but they were promised by the Parliament that they would get autonomous State status whenever required by incorporating Article 244 (A) in the Constitution of India. The Article 244 (A) of the Constitution of India has not been implemented as yet. On the other hand, the Government of India has created the States of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh, even though there was no Parliamentary commitment or a special Constitutional provision like Article 244 (A) for creating those States. Lately, the Government of India has also created the State of Telangana despite the fact that the Srikrishna Commission constituted by the Government of India had opposed the creation.

Source: Assam Tribune

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