Dimapur, January 31 (MExN): Various Rengma bodies have stated that the Rengmas in Karbi Anglong, Assam are undergoing a systematic process of “dehumanization” through state policies, which have adversely affected their political, physical and cultural footprints in the area.
In a memorandum submitted to the Assam Governor on Thursday, the Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council, Assam; Rengma Naga Students’ Union, Assam and the Rengma Gaon Bura Committee, Assam pointed to various factors through which “dehumanization” of the Rengmas has taken place.
It lamented that since the 1950s, the Rengma in KA have been “systematically sidelined from the decision making processes.” Besides the three Rengma representatives nominated to the then United Mikir and North Chachar Hills District Council (in 1952, 1971, 1962 and 1989), the memo stated that for the last 25 years, the Rengmas have been unrepresented.
It added that the Rengma areas in KA “were systematically kept backward so as to depopulate us.” It pointed out that the Rengma inhabited areas still lack basic amenities and infrastructure, forcing many to work as unskilled laborers in other places. This combined with high infant mortality rates contribute to the dwindling population of the Rengmas, stated the memo. It further cited “an absence of any semblance of governance in areas of development and law and order” in the area.
It then stated that the Rengmas in KA are “coerced to embrace the Karbi identity to wipe off any linkages” to their heritage. Citing the general backwardness of the Rengmas, economic disparity between the two communities and their lack of political identity, the memo stressed on the need to accord constitutional protection to the Rengmas. It added that the rise of Karbi militancy added another dimension to the plight of the Rengmas, through illegal taxes and direct threats.
The memo further pointed to “systematic non interventionist government policies” through diversion of development funds, centrally sponsored schemes and human resource development away from Rengma inhabited areas.
In view of these said circumstances, the Rengma organizations called for the “rectification of the dehumanizing episode through creation of Rengma Hills Autonomous Council to check the plight of Rengma Nagas of Assam or the demand for Rengma Naga political identity in Assam.”
This, it said, meant the “bifurcation of the Rengma Hills from Karbi Anglong based on the original boundary of the Rengma Hills and Rengma Mouzas.”
It further affirmed that the Rengma Hills “shall be the homeland of the 28 non Karbi communities, including Rengmas, Adivasis, Kukis, Nepalis, Ahoms and mainland Indian communities, with its headquarters at Bokajan.”