The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India


The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India

The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India

The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India

India is not only a land of unity in diversity but also a land of diversity in unity. This comment appropriately holds well in regard to the North-Eastern states of India. It is because the N.E. States are the abodes of so many human tribes that there is hardly a second counterpart in the map of the world. The peculiar characteristics of all the tribes are that they have their peculiar culture independent of one another. Another peculiarity of their characteristics is that under any circumstance they don’t incline to assimilate with other tribes.

Keeping up such characteristics of the tribes living in the N.E. States of India in mind the makers of the Indian constitution created a special schedule to be provided them with which is called the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

After independence, the political leaders of India especially the central government, in order to grasp the governing power tightly in their hands, amalgamated the north-east regions of India to Assam ignoring the demands of the different tribes. About a decade after India got freedom, the Indian Government could continue its administration without facing any noticeable opposition from the tribes. But with the passing of time, especially from 1965, the different tribes living in the hilly regions of North-East India began to be conscious of their cultural differences and their deplorable economic condition and with this consciousness, some of the regional tribes, especially the Nagas and Mizos began to claim separate states for their own. By degrees, their demand began to be stronger and at times they became rebellious and violent activities began to be pursued by the rebels. When the government became unable to keep them under control, then two separate states as— Nagaland for the Nagas and Mizoram for the Mizos were created cutting off from Assam.

Towards the end of the sixth decade of the gone century again a new political shake arose in Assam. The three hilly districts of Assam as— Khasi, Jayantia, and Garo began to demand a separate state for their own. The Indian government was compelled to meet their demand. In the parliament, the Acts like— The Assam Re-organization (Meghalaya) Act 1969 and the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organization) Act 1971 were passed. And as a result, Meghalaya as a separate state out of Assam took birth. The vast Assam shrank down. After these, there remained other two hilly districts as— Karbi Anglong and North Kacher. Both districts have been included in the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution. Since some years back, some political parties and organizations have been demanding under schedule 244 (A) separate states for their own.

Again at the beginning of the 7th decade, the Bodos living in the plains of Assam propounded the claim of ‘Udayachal’ a separate state for them in the model of Meghalaya. They demand half of the territory of Assam, especially the north side of the Brahmaputra. Then the governments made an understanding with the Bodo leaders and by far with political flattery the issue had been kept under control till the middle of the 8th decade. But after this, when the leadership of the rebellion went to the hand of ABSU, then their movement took a stern turn. Armed extremists began to fight against the governments. At last, the law and order so much deteriorated that the government failed to keep them under control. As a consequence, the state government and the central government, after a series of conversations and meetings with the Bodos, the BAC (Bodoland Autonomous Council) was formed. But by this, the Bodos seemed not to be calmed. On the other hand, BLT and NDFB (two extremist organizations of the Bodos) continued their demands for a separate state, and thus by means of their vehement activities the political condition became worse to manage. Then under the interference of the central government, the B.T.A.D. was included in the 6th schedule. It is to be noted that the NDFB has not withdrawn its demand of sovereign Bodoland till today.

When the Bodos were given the Bodoland Autonomous Council, the other tribes of the plain as— Micing, Rava, Tiwang, etc. got enraged and began to claim Autonomous Councils for their own. In 1995, the Hiteshwar Saikia Government, being agreed to meet their demand created Micing Autonomous Council, Rava Hasang Autonomous Council and Tiwa Autonomous Council. After this, being instigated by these, the other tribes like Deori, Sonowal, Thengal, etc. raised heads and began to claim Autonomous Councils like the MAC and RHAC. The state government, being compelled by law, gives them the same status.

After the formation of B.T.A.D. the other tribes grumbled at the councils formed by ad hoc nominated members and on the contrary, they began to claim to be included in the 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution and began to claim Autonomous Councils like BAC. But till today the government seems to be blind to their demand. Already several tribal organizations congregated in Baku where they have blueprinted the procedure of their rebellion.

Already, on the other hand, the Koch Rajbangsi, Maran, Matak, Chutiya, and the tea tribes since long have been keeping on their demand in favour of including them in the 6th schedule. On 26th October 2006, a meeting of the tribal organization of the state was held. They took several resolutions and one of their resolutions is that they would oppose the demand of the above-mentioned six tribes who have been claiming to be included in the 6th schedule. Thus the moments of tribalization have become complex. The possibility of conflicts between the scheduled tribes and the non-schedule tribes has increased. Because it is futile to think that the above-mentioned six tribes would discard their demands after the opposition of the organizations of the scheduled tribes. It is to be noted that after the meeting of the tribal organizations, a meeting of the Marans was called upon at Tinichukia where about twenty thousand Marans were present. Now a question arises— what do they signify? It is obvious that they signify a new vehement political as well as social unrest to be faced in North-East India.

Assam is an abode of many aboriginal tribes with independent cultures. Almost all of them are socio-politically weak, so I think all the aboriginal tribes should be given the Status of scheduled tribes. Here to say that it is necessary for their economic development.  In this respect, the aboriginal Brahmas, Kalita, Kayastha, and even the aboriginal Muslims should be given special privileges under the constitution.

Again it is worth noting that no tribe can get autonomy by giving pressure upon the state government only, but the central government must come forward with a willful motive and sympathy and thus a new law should be passed under the constitutional process. As mentioned in the 368 Article of the Indian Constitution the Amendment Bill for the constitution should be propounded and passed in both Houses and then the President of India should give his consent to bring it into force. Without performing this constitutional process no autonomous council could be given under the 6th schedule to any scheduled tribe. Indeed the state government may perform the groundwork such as— the identification of the tribal areas or villages, the demarcation of the area of the proposed Autonomous Council, the scope of the council etc. It is obvious that the demands of Autonomous Councils of all the tribes are the same and their problems are also almost the same. 0 0 0. The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India

The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east Indiaa

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N. B. The article ‘The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India’ originally belongs to the book ‘Articles on Contemporary Affairsby Menonim Menonimus.

The 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the Tribal Problem in North-east India

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