The Moran community, one of the six communities recently promised Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Centre, continued their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for the third day on Tuesday.
The protesting members of the community, predominant in upper Assam and adjoining areas of Arunachal Pradesh, blocked the movement of trucks carrying oil, coal and timber in Tinsukia district, officials said.
Arunjyoti Moran, president of All Moran Students’ Union (AMSU), told The Indian Express, “We demand scrapping of the Bill, granting of Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) in Arunachal to Morans and five other communities in the state, granting of ST status, which has been promised recently, and stopping attempts to privatise oil fields.”
Groups in Assam feel the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is a “threat” to the indigenous communities as “it violates the Assam Accord according to which any person who came into Assam after midnight of March 24, 1971, would be identified as a foreigner”.
The Centre announced the grant of Scheduled Tribe status to six communities — the Morans, Muttocks, Koch Rajbongshis, Tai Ahoms, Chutiyas and Adivasi (a term used to refer to the tea tribes in the state) — and many see it as an attempt to contain the possible damage arising out of the Bill.
Moran said, “The announcement on Clause 6 implementation and the granting of ST status is a political eyewash. We doubt if this will ever be implemented.”
Morans have been demanding PRC for a long time in Arunachal Pradesh.
Bihudhar Moran, president, AMSU-Lekang Regional Committee (LRC), said, “Granting of PRC will mean our community is officially recognised as residents of Arunachal Pradesh.”
Nabam Rebia, Arunachal Pradesh minister and chairperson of the joint high power committee (JHPC) on the PRC issue, said the JHPC meeting on Wednesday is likely to decide on the matter. “The Committee includes members of political parties, student organisations and other groups.”