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Huge turnout at UPDS rally

The mammoth gathering at Diphu showing solidarity with the UPDS charter of demands, on Monday. (NP)
Correspondent DIPHU, JAN 11:
Published on 12 Jan. 2010 12:55 AM IST
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The Karbi Anglong Sports’ Association ground today turned into a sea of people as thousands of tribals from every corner of the district thronged the venue of Mass assembly programme arranged by a conglomeration of 21 social, political, cultural, student and civil bodies of the district headed by United Peoples’ Democratic Solidarity and Autonomous State Demand Committee. More than 50, 000 vociferous zealots came like a watercourse inside the stadium to show their solidarity to the UPDS charter of demands. People raised slogans in support of the autonomous state for Karbi Anglong and NC Hills. Representatives from almost every ethnic community including the non-tribal bodies extended support to the UPDS call for creation of the proposed autonomous state for Karbi Anglong. It may be recalled that under the State Reorganization policy, Karbi Anglong and NC Hills were given the option to merge with Meghalaya or Nagaland way back in 1971. However, the yesteryear leaders of both the hill districts preferred to stay with Assam and were satisfied with the alternative arrangement of having an exclusive post of minister for “Hill Areas Development” in the Assam State Cabinet. Speaking on the occasion, various leaders of highlighted the necessity of an autonomous state. They said that invariable demographic threat from mainland India and regular infringement of the rights of tribal people granted under the sixth schedule provisions has virtually forced the indigenous population of the district to look for economic, social and cultural protection which could only be possible if the proposed statehood was granted without any further undue holdup. The speakers mentioned that the demand for an autonomous statehood gained momentum from the 90’s reaching its zenith in 1995 finally culminating for the time being through signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ASDC leaders and Union Government. However, the movement was intensified when the Union government recently gave its node for formation of Telangana state cutting parts of Andhra Pradesh. Addressing the mammoth gathering, UPDS and ASDC apex leaders viewed the assembling of 21 one organizations under one roof as a unification of pro-autonomous forces. Leaders of both the organizations said that Congress which was at the helm of power both in state and in the centre has despondently failed to guard the life and property of tribal people. Terming Monday’s mass assembly as a redefining moment of the pro autonomous forces, UPDS leaders expressed optimism that their peace parley with the Union government which has reached a decisive stage would come to a logical and prestigious conclusion soon. Throwing light on the outcome of their discussion with P.C Haldar – Interlocutor appointed by the Union Government, UPDS leaders informed the crowd that they were hoping for an end of the impasse within February 15. ASDC leaders who also spoke welcomed the KLNLF move to decommission their arsenal and said although the radical group was waging a movement on their own way, considering their similar demands, a combined movement could be made for greater interest of the society.

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