Train services between Assam and the rest of the country were disrupted today by an 11-hour railway blockade called by Adavasi National Convention Committee.
The ANCC agitators, however, withdrew their blockade after five hours and train services resumed after assurance from Kokrajhar deputy commissioner Bivekananda Choudhury that the Assam government has taken up their demand with the Centre for tripartite talks immediately. Police said hundreds of members of different Adavasi organisations joined the protest programme and squatted on railway tracks from 6 AM at Kokrajhar Railway Station demanding ST status to the community.
Due to the blockade up Rajendra Nagar Express was controlled at Alipurduar junction, up Saraighat Express at New Alipur, up Lokmanya Tilak Express in New Coch Behar (all in north Bengal) and up Brahmaputra mail at Dhupguri, railway sources said.
The ANCC also submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal through the deputy commissioner. The body is demanding inclusion of Santhals, Oraons, Mundas, Kharias, Gonds, Sawras, Kishans, Lohrahs, Kols, Bhils, Porjas, Bedias, Mirdhas in the ST list.
Their other demands are including Adivasi ceasefire groups in political negotiation, allotment of land and rehabilitation of evicted adivasi traditional forest dwellers in Assam, permanent allotment of land and deeds to the tea garden workers in the state.