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Naked protest in Diphu demanding fresh electoral roll

Correspondent/Agencies Diphu, Apr 21
Published on 22 Apr. 2017 12:11 AM IST
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Around 100 naked Karbi youths Friday marched through the streets of Diphu town demanding Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) to prepare fresh electoral roll before conducting election and, alleged deprivation of their political rights.
The naked demonstration was jointly organised by 24 tribal organizations- UKSA, NNKRAA, SSIC, KARAA, RNSU, DSU, KNA, KFA, KSYA, PFP, KASDO, UHDO, KAHTSCA, GGKSA, NKSA, TKSA, LKSA, SKSA, GKSA, JKSA, DKSA, Bangalore Karbi Society, Biswanath Chai’ali Karbi Students Association. Around hundred of young nude activists of various tribal originations marched out from the legendary Karbi Club at 12.30 PM holding banner and placard and shouting slogans. The naked protestors covered almost two kilometers through Diphu town before police in riot gear led by additional superintendent of police stopped them from proceeding further. The additional superintendent of police and a magistrate of Karbi Anglong Deputy Commissioner’s office later convinced the protestors to put on bare minimum clothes. Karbi Anglong was made an autonomous district under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. It is governed by the KAAC, which is likely to go to polls in May. Only law and order and the judiciary are beyond the KAAC’s powers and jurisdiction.
The organisers said that by staging the protest, they wanted to bring their demands to the government’s notice. “Act and rules for the conduct of council election have not been made. The obsolete and defective rules of 1951 are still being used by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and state government. The non tribal emigrants have taken away political power of the schedule tribes guaranteed by the constitution of India. So the schedule tribes, who were covered with protective law, are now politically naked, hence this naked demonstration” said one of the activists.
“Due to dilutions of the provisions of sixth schedule, all government funds for development, government job, land, trade and commerce reserved by the sixth schedule under paragraph-20 have been snatch away by the illegal Bongo Sena and foreigners. As a result, the tribal people in the rural areas are reduced to abject poverty and they have no clothes to wear and most of them are naked and semi-naked,” said another protester.
“According to para 2 and sub para 6 of the Sixth Schedule, the rules for conduct of the first Council elections in 1951-52 were framed for temporary use. Under para 2 and sub para 7, the first Council should have made an Act and rules for conduct of elections but it has not been done till today. Why the delay in framing the rules? The 1951 rules, framed by the then governor without passing any Act, are obsolete. As the rules were framed hurriedly, there were many mistakes, ambiguities and contradictions in the Sixth Schedule itself,” Jones Ingti Kathar, who is a retired IAS officer, said.
He alleged that because of the lapses, the names of foreigners had entered the electoral rolls. All 26 elected members of the current council are tribals but Kathar said they were dependent on non-tribal voters.
It may be mentioned here that the existing Assam Autonomous District Council (Constitution of District Council Rules) 1951 came into existence in accordance with an executive order no TDA/R/23/51 Dated October15, 1951. The order passed by Tribal Affairs Department of Assam Government stated that the Governor of Assam shall make rule for the first seating of the then Karbi Anglong District Council and subsequently, the elected members of the District Council will make rule for the statuary body themselves. Advisor of Sixth Schedule Implementation Committee and leader of the organisations, Jones Ingti Kathar said that the crux of the problem was the obsolete rules under which the first elections to KAAC were held in 1951-52.

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