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Tribal groups stage hunger strike over ST Bill

GUWAHATI: The Coordination Committee of Tribal Organisations of Assam (CCTOA) staged a 12-hour hunger strike at Kokrakhar in lower Assam on Tuesday in protest against the proposed Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Six communities of Assam – Moran, Motok, Tai-Ahom, Koch-Rajbongshi, Chutia and tea garden community – will get Scheduled Tribe status if the Bill is implemented.

Speaking to The Shillong Times on Tuesday evening, Erakdao Brahma, the convener of People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM), a participating member of CCTOA, warned that the agitation will be continued till the Bill is scrapped.

“The Bill is a threat to the identity of the existing ST communities of the state, which is why we have staged a 12-hour hunger strike from 5am. We will take the agitation forward in a democratic manner till the legislation is scrapped,” Brahma said.

Hundreds of students from various educational institutions of the town joined the rally, displaying placards and shouting slogans.

The CCTOA has also called a 12-hour Assam bandh on Wednesday in protest against the Centre’s move to implement the Bill.

The tribal body also demanded scrapping of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which the BJP-led central government is intent on tabling in Rajya Sabha.

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