NEW DELHI: The United Tribal Organisation, Assam (UTOA) has urged the government for the proper implementation of the Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

The organisation which is a common platform of the Scheduled Tribes of the plains and the hills has demanded that the government look into the rights and interests of the indigenous communities, protect different tribal belts and blocks, evict encroachers from tribal land and probe illegal mutation cases in tribal belts and blocks.

Markush Basumatary, its President told the media that it is the responsibility and the duty of the government to take “appropriate steps for the allotment of land to tribals living in forest area under the Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.”

Bimal Sing Bey, General Secretary of UTOA said “The tribal belts and blocks, forest and government lands are being encroached upon by suspected illegal migrants from across the border”.

Further, alleging that these suspected illegal migrants who were encroaching upon the land of the tribal communities were taking away their identity, he said that the local indigenous people in the state are under constant threat.

Insisting that “there is an urgent need to safeguard the tribal belts and blocks and protect tribal lands from encroachers”, he urged the government to take strong measures to protect the land rights of tribals and other indigenous people.

Seeking that the government urgently starts the proper implementation, he added “The rights and the interests of the indigenous communities should be looked into immediately”.

It may be mentioned here that “the organisation has been endorsing every initiative which can help make Assam a ‘tribal State’ as all the tribes residing here would be protected in the real sense”, according to its President,Basumatary.

Earlier in July, the same organisation had pressed for the total protection of their existing constitutional safeguards.

This concerned a move by the government to enlist the six indigenous communities of the State as tribe.

The UTOA had then clarified that they were not opposed to this move in any way, but rather afraid that it may affect tribal belts, blocks and autonomous councils, adding that they only these to remain intact.