“ISSUE OF SCHEDULING OF KOCH-RAJBONGSHI COMMUNITY
IN THE S.T LIST OF ASSAM”
CENTRE FOR KOCH RAJBANSHI STUDIES
Presented by: Vikram Rajkhowa
PART – A: MAIN GROUNDS FOR GRANTING S.T STATUS TO KOCH-RAJBONGSHI
1. Report of the Tribal Research Institute, Govt. of Assam
2. Comments of the Registrar General of India
3. Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 1996
4. Report of the Select Committee of Lok Sabha
5. Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Ordinance, 9 of 1996
PART – B: POLITICS OF SABOTAGE
Conspiracy to separate Koch and Rajbongshi (Rajbanshi)
Delaying the process by asking the view of Karbi Anglong & N.C Hills
Combining the S.T demand of the Six Communities
PART – C: CKRSD’s OPINION
PART – A
MAIN GROUNDS FOR GRANTING
S.T STATUS TO KOCH-RAJBONGSHI
1. REPORT OF THE TRIBAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE,
GOVT. OF ASSAM (Dtd.: 09/08/1994)
The Government of India had adopted (five) criteria viz., (i) Indication of Primitive
Traits, (ii) Distinctive Culture, (iii) Geographical Isolation, (iv) Shyness of contact with
community at large and (v) Backwardness, in order to determine the tribal status of a
For the purpose of considering the demands of the Koch-Rajbongshi people of
Assam for their inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes, the Tribal Research
Institute, Government of Assam undertook a detailed field investigation in the light of
the aforesaid criteria in various Koch-Rajbongshi inhabited areas of Lower Assam
and Upper Assam.
REPORT OF TRIBAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
CONCLUSION: “From our analysis we come to know that the Koch-Rajbongshi
Kshtriyas of Assam are of Mongoloid tribal origin and linguistically, they
belong to the Tibeto-Burman family. Moreover, it may be said that KochRajbongshi-Kshtriyas are simply three terminologies adopted by the people of
the Koch ethnic group on various socio-religious-political situations. Our field
investigation reveals that most of the elements of the criteria earmarked for
scheduling a community are in existence among the community, under study.
Taking into consideration all the relevant aspects we find adequate justification for
the inclusion of Koch-Rajbongshi-Kshtriyas in the list of Scheduled Tribes of
2. COMMENTS OF REGISTRAR GENERAL OF INDIA
A proposal has been forwarded by the Ministry of Welfare with the suggestion that the
matter may be re-examined in the light of the report on this subject prepared by the
Tribal Research Institute, Assam.
“In the light of the empirical data furnished by the Tribal Research Institute,
Assam, this office has no objection to include Koch-Rajbongshi in the list of
Scheduled Tribes of Assam.”
3. CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED TRIBES) ORDER
(AMENDMENT) BILL, 1996
Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 1996, a Bill* to provide for the
inclusion of Koch-Rajbongshi in the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in relation to the State
of Assam was introduced by the Minister of Welfare (now Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment) in the Lok Sabha on 14/02/1996 and again on 12/07/1996.
The House, at its sitting held on 02/08/1996, during discussion on the motion for
consideration of the Bill, authorized the Speaker to refer the Bill to a Select Committee
of Lok Sabha. Accordingly, the Speaker, constituted the Select Committee consisting of 15
members and referred the Bill to it.
* Published in Part II – Section 2 of the Gazettee of India, Extraordinary dated the 12/07/1996.
4. REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE
OF LOK SABHA
Select Committee held 8 sittings in all, the first being on 26/08/1996.
281 Memoranda on the provisions of the Bill were received by the Committee
Committee heard the views of Shri. K.B Saxena the then Secretary, Ministry of
Welfare on 25/09/1996
The Committee visited Guwahati and Bongaigaon from 15/11/1996 to 18/11/1996 and
heard the views of the representatives of
(i) Tribal Research Institute, Guwahati, Assam;
(ii) Various Association/ Organizations/ Individuals; and
(iii) Department of Welfare, Government of Assam.
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE
OF LOK SABHA (Contd…)
The Committee also visited Dibrugarh and heard the views of various non-official
organizations on 06/02/1997.
The Committee heard the views of
Smt. Asha Das, Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and
Dr. Vijayanunni, Registrar General and Census Commissioner India; and
Shri. K.K Bakshi, The Secretary, Ministry of Welfare, Government of India,
New Delhi on 13/03/1997.
The Committee considered and adopted the Report at their sitting held on
RECOMMENDATIONS OF SELECT COMMITTEE
OF LOK SABHA (RELEVANT PORTION)
“The Committee finds that there is good indication about the tribal origin
of the Koch-Rajbongshi in Assam. They possess most of the tribal
characteristics among them. Moreover, Registrar-General of India has also
raised no objection to include Koch-Rajbongshis in the list of Scheduled
Tribes of Assam. The Committee also finds that in Meghalaya the Koches
are notified as Scheduled Tribes which was a part and parcel of erstwhile
Assam. As such there is adequate justification for inclusion of KochRajbongshi community in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Assam. Keeping
in view all these aspects, the Committee, therefore, recommend that the
Koch-Rajbongshis should be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes so
that they may come in the mainstream of the public life.” (Para 22)
5. PRESIDENT’S ORDINANCE – CONSTITUTION
(SCHEDULED TRIBES) ORDER (AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE
Prior to the introduction of the Bill’s in the Lok Sabha, the President of India
Ordinance, 9 of 1996 on 27/01/1996 to give effect to the Scheduling of the
Koch-Rajbongshi community in the S.T lists of Assam as the Parliament was
not in session.
The said Ordinance was re-promulgated three times, vide Ordinance No. 19 of
1996, Ordinance No. 30 of 1996 and Ordinance No. 3 of 1997 but as the Bill was
not enacted on time the said Ordinance lapsed and since then the issue of the
inclusion of the Koch-Rajbongshi community in the S.T lists of Assam is hanging.
6. CONSPIRACY TO DIVIDE KOCH AND
“It may be said that Koch-Rajbongshi-Kshtriyas are simply three terminologies
adopted by the people of the Koch ethnic group on various socio-religious-political
situations.” – Report of Tribal Research Institute, Govt. of Assam.
In the report of the Select Committee, comments of Registrar General of India, in the
Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 1996, in President’s Ordinance’s,
etc. it is stated as Koch-Rajbongshi.
Central Lists of OBC’s for the State of Assam it is stated as Koch-Rajbongshi.
In all Govt. of Assam Notifications, Orders, etc, it is stated as Koch-Rajbongshi.
Koch-Rajbongshi’s are people of the same ethnic group.
7. DELAYING TACTICS – ASKING VIEW OF
KARBI ANGLONG & N.C HILLS
Reference by the Central Govt. to take the views of the Karbi Anglong
and North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council’s is simply a delaying
tactic for the simple reason that the demand of the Koch-Rajbongshi
people is for scheduling as S.T (Plains) only and had not made any
demand for S.T (Hills) of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar.
8. COMBINING THE S.T DEMAND OF KOCHRAJBONGSHI’S WITH FIVE OTHER COMMUNITIES
While we strongly support the demands of five other communities for
granting of S.T status, based on their specific community wise
We would like that immediate positive action is taken on our demand
in view of the fact that our case, i.e., that of the Koch-Rajbongshi
community was already at a very advance stage of consideration for a
final decision by placing the Bill in parliament.
Having highlighted earlier the main Grounds and Justifications for granting of
S.T status to the Koch-Rajbongshi community, and in view of the failure of the
State and Central Govt. to resolve the issue satisfactorily declaring the KochRajbongshi’s as S.T (Plains) and by keeping the matter hanging, CKRSD has
filed a Writ Petition being No. 5978/2013 at the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court
seeking adequate relief.
The Hon’ble Gauhati High Court after hearing the matter is pleased to admit
the petition by issuing Rule giving 3 months notice to both the State and
Central Govt. to respond by 20/01/2014.
organizations, having Tripartite dialogues with the Central and the State Govt.
to pursue the case for urgent settlement by placing of the Bill discussed here
in the up-coming Winter Session (2013) of Parliament.
We are also of the view that the organizations from the Koch-Rajbongshi
community who are participating in the Tripartite Meeting should insist the
Central Govt. on having a Senior Officer / Representative from the Ministry of
Social Justice & Empowerment (earlier Ministry of Welfare) and from the Office
of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.