Rengma Nagas in Assam demand autonomous district
Dimapur, June 8 (EMN): The Rengma Nagas have submitted a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding creation of Rengma Hills Autonomous District by bifurcating from Karbi Anglong with headquarters at Bokajan for Rengmas and non Karbis as well as reserve an MLA seat for the Rengmas.
The demand came amid talks that the Central and Assam governments are planning create a Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC) by signing a peace accord with insurgent groups of Karbi Anglong.
The Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council (RNPC), Karbi Anglong, Assam, stated in its memorandum to the Home minister that the Rengmas “have been living under the present Karbi Anglong district of Assam since time immemorial”.
Narrating its history, the RNPC said that they lived side by side with the Ahoms as brothers even during the British rule; and it that the former gave shelter to the Ahom refugees during the first and second Burmese invasions of Assam in 1816 and 1819.
The council said that the Rengmas were the first tribal people in Assam to encounter with the British in 1839 after which the British declared the Rengma Hills in 1841. “The Rengma Hills was extended to Bora Dikharu, Ban Inkuparbat and Tarapung Nallah in the North, the Jamuna and Diphu rivers on the south, Bora Dikharu and Horu Dikharu in the west and Dimapur on the east,” read the memorandum.
It stated that 32 out of 52 Rengma villages paid revenue at the rate of one rupee to the British India Government from 1848, because of which the Rengma Hills was divided into three Mouzas.
“The existing Rengma Hills was eliminated from the political map of Assam and replaced with that of Mikir Hills in 1951, after long 85 years of its existence,” it said, citing creation of Mikir Hills Autonomous District Council.
“The Rengma Hills was partitioned in 1963 between the states of Assam and Nagaland at the time of creation of Nagaland state. A considerable size of Rengma Hills was merged with the state of Nagaland,” it added.
The council went on to say that “Karbis, who were known as Mikirs till 1976, are the indigeneous tribal people of Mikir Hills which bounded with Rengma Hills on the east along Kaliani River”.
“Thus, the Rengma Hills and Mikir Hills were two separate entities till 1951. Karbis have no history in the Rengma Hills. People who are presently living in Rengma Hills are immigrants who have come from Tezpur, Sibsagar, Darang, Lakhimpur and Silchar districts of Assam and the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. They speak different dialects and do not know Karbi language of Karbi Anglong,” said the memorandum.
It went on to state the demand for creation of autonomous district for Rengmas and non-Karbis has not been met despite several memoranda being submitted to the government for years.
“However, it has been unfortunate that the matter has been prolong delayed till date. Justice delayed is justice denied. Whereas the govt. has recently announced to sign accord with the Karbi militants with bigger packages without taking into account the legitimate rights of the sons of the soil or the Rengmas and other communities,” it stated.
“Provision of autonomous district under the 6th Schedule of the constitution of India has pushed the Rengmas into the dark side of democracy which the government fails to see,” it added, while urged the Home minister not to “ignore and not overlook the legitimate historical facts before taking concrete decision but consider the same for peaceful coexistence among the people”.