Assam Tripartite Talk for Granting Autonomy to States Resumes This Week

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Center To Hold Tripartite Talks With JACAS On 19th January

The Tripartite discussion on the issue of granting an Autonomous State comprising the two 6th scheduled autonomous hill districts of Assam on the stipulation of Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State (JACAS) will resume on 19th January.

The issue will be discussed between the representatives of JACAS, the Assam Government and the Central Government in New Delhi, although the exact venue has not been disclosed yet. The Assam Government will be represented by Dr. AK Singh, Principal Secretary to the Government of Assam, Hill Areas Department, Commissioner & Secretary to the Government of Assam Home & Political Department, and Pallab Bhattacharyya, Additional Director General of Police (SB) Assam.

Top leaders of JACAS Bijoy Teron, Chief Convener, John Engti Kathar Advisor, Khor Sing Teron, Chairman and Bidya Teron, founder member will probably represent the conglomeration of the student and youth organizations. Ajay Kanaujia, Deputy Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs and North East Division will lead the Central Government.

During the concluding episode of Telengana creation, a massive public uprising took place in Karbi Anglong from August to September 2013, and government property worth crores of rupees was set ablaze by agitated pro autonomous state activists and normal life was severely disruoted.

The unorganized youths spearheading the movement founded an action committee amid the fracas and tumultuous situation to demand an autonomous state. The assortment of youth and students organization created the Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State and the first round of tripartite discussions took place on 2nd September 2013; discussion on the issue went well at the bureaucratic echelon and a detailed road-map was presented to Central Government by JACAS which rotated in various Ministries of Government of India. Expectations were high regarding a positive outcome but unenthusiastic response from Assam government and political opposition from various quarters decelerate the spirited JACAS.

The parliamentary election of 2014 put a hold on the process of dialogue. Insisting on the resumption of talks, apex leaders lunched an indefinite hunger strike from 1st September 2014 which was suspended after 144 hours at the intervention of various political parties and assurances of the Central Government; later a 1000 hour general strike was called by JACAS which paralyzed normal life in Karbi Anglong from 27th October, but it was called off on 31st October after receiving firm assurances from the Center that discussions would resume on the autonomous state issue with JACAS.

The upbeat Leadership of JACAS while disclosing the information before the media in Diphu today requested providential help. “I appeal to all sections of the people of Karbi Anglong to pray according to their respective religious beliefs, for the success of the talks,” Bijoy Teron, Chief Convener of JACAS told the media. He also requested the district unit of BJP declare its game plan regarding the autonomous state issue.

Khorsing Teron, Chairman of JACAS said that political parties have been maneuvering the autonomous state issue since the 1960s and the process is still going on. He said that there are issues like corruption, and no development but the political parties are just harping on the issue, some have changed their position. “We are not opposed to a separate state but we will stick with our demand for an autonomous state, we know we need the political will for accomplishing our mission, we are already mobilizing public support and it is a continuous process which will go on,” Khorsing Teron said.

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them.