Accord with Assam’s Dimasa rebels may run into rough weather

By Prasanta Mazumdar | Place: GUWAHATI | Agency: DNA

As the Centre gets set to sign an accord with Assam’s Dimasa rebels, there are worries that while the accord will solve one problem, it will create another. Even the Union home ministry has not ruled it out. Sources in the ministry said the proposed accord might lead to aggravation of the situation in Dima Hasao district.
On Sunday evening, a day before the accord is to be signed, three explosions rocked Halflong in the Dima Hasao district. There were no causalities in the three grenade attack.

The erstwhile NC Hills (now Dima Hasao) district was held to ransom by the Dimasa rebel group Dima Halam Daoga for a long time. The rebels hung up guns a few years ago that led to the return of peace in the district. The accord is an outcome of a series of dialogues held between the government and the rebels.
However, many in Assam believe that the accord could be counter-productive. Non-Dimasas such as the Nagas, the Kukis and the Hmars are so opposed to the accord that they spearheaded a series of protests in recent times. Non-Dimasas argue that the Dimasas make up only 43% of the district’s population and as such, their views alone must not hold sway.

The views of the non-Dimasas are that the land inhabited by their people should be kept outside the purview of the proposed council, likely to be named either Dimaraji Territorial Council or Dima Hasao Territorial Council. They also demand the creation of a separate district for non-Dimasas.

That the accord would only stir up a hornet’s nest could be gauged from the silence maintained by senior government officials. “I cannot comment on things that are in the process. I can only comment on the outcome,” Assam’s home secretary GD Tripathi told DNA.

The Indigenous People’s Forum (IPF), a protesting group representing non-Dimasa communities, was optimistic that the government would address their concerns. “All we want is that areas inhabited by our people should be kept outside the purview of the proposed territorial council,” IPF leader L Hlima Keivom said. He added: “If the government goes ahead with the signing of the accord, we will have no option than to chalk out our next course of action”.

Dima Hasao Autonomous Council will be upgraded to a territorial council if the accord sees the light of the day.It will also ensure flow of more funds to the council.

The rebels demanded the inclusion of 94 contiguous villages with the district by carving them out of Nagaon, Cachar and Karbi Anglong districts. But after the talks, it now appears that villages located within a distance of 10km from the existing boundary will be incorporated. -DNA

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