Draft Amendment To Restore Backwards’ Land Rights Prepared

Source: The Sentinal

Guwahati, Feb 03 With a view to arresting the trend of the indigenous people of Assam losing their rights over land at the hands of outsiders, the Axom Bhumi Xuraksha Xanmilan (ABXX) has prepared a draft amendment to Chapter-X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation (ALRR), 1886. The move is to protect some areas in the State as backward belts. This, they say, is over and above the protected tribal belts and blocks.

Keeping with the purport and spirit of Chapter-X of the Regulation, the Xanmilan wants to declare the areas being inhabited by OBC and MOBC communities of the State as backward belts and blocks, over and above the protected tribal belts and blocks.

Talking to The Sentinel, Xanmilan president Krishna Kanta Mahanta, who is also the chairperson of the State Level Expert Committee of Chapter-X of ALRR, said: “Chapter-X of the Act has no mention of ‘tribal’. The Act doesn’t say anything about religions or castes. It has only defined backward classes. Since the tribal people come under backward classes, the definition also includes them. In such a backdrop it is difficult to ascertain as to why only tribal belts and blocks were declared, instead of declaring backward belts and blocks. Even as all backward classes, including tribal people, are same boat brothers, a political coterie made tribal people board another boat so as to drive a wedge among the greater Assamese society.”

Mahanta said, “Even as 80 per cent of the people of Assam are backward, the remaining 20 per cent can’t be termed an affluent class. Apart from SCs and STs of the State, the draft seeks to declare the areas being inhabited by 155 communities, who are tagged as OBC and MOBC, as backward belts. Such a measure is set to protect the land rights of the indigenous people of the State by preventing foreigners and outsiders from buying such lands. When land is protected, jaati and bheti are bound to be protected.”

The draft amendment has inserted four new provisions into Chapter-X of the Regulation, but deleted two of its existing provisions. The draft has been prepared by a nine-member expert committee chosen at a public meeting. The first draft was made public for public opinion and this draft has been prepared after incorporating the public opinions. The Xanmilan sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister on January 9 for the introduction of a Bill in this regard in the ongoing Budget session of the State Assembly.

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