The Karbi Anglong Agreement
- The Karbi Anglong Agreement is in line with the vision of an insurgency-free and prosperous North East, which envisions the region’s overall growth, peace, and prosperity.
- Karbi Anglong, the state’s largest district, is home to many tribal groups, including the Karbi, Dimasa, Bodo, Kuki, Hmar, Tiwa, Garo, Man (Tai speakers), and Rengma Naga.
- The diversity spawned several organisations and fueled an insurgency that stifled the region’s development.
- The Karbis are a large Assamese ethnic group with numerous divisions and splinters. Since the late 1980s, the Karbi group’s history has been marked by assassinations, ethnic warfare, kidnappings, and taxation.
- The People’s Democratic Council of Karbi Longri (PDCK), Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), and other insurgent organisations in the Karbi Anglong area arose from a prime demand for formation of a separate state.
- Since 1946, the Karbi have demanded their own state. Later, their movement evolved into an insurgency, which grew stronger in the 1990s.
- The Centre signed a number of ceasefire deals with various parties, but there were always breakaway elements that fought on.
- The recent agreement is in line with the vision of an insurgency-free and prosperous North East, which envisions the region’s overall growth, peace, and prosperity.
- While the demand for a separate state for the Karbis has been around for decades, it became violent in the mid-1990s. In 1996, two organisations — the Karbi National Volunteers (KNV) and the Karbi People’s Force (KPF) joined to establish the United Peoples’ Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) (UPDS).
- Some of the recent demands of the militant groups are:Inclusion of some areas into Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC),Reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes,More powers to the council, Inclusion of Karbi language in the Eighth Schedule,Financial package of Rs 1,500 crore.
- The agreement, which has been hailed as “historic,” promises to “end the decades-old problem” and maintain Assam’s territorial integrity, and comes months after over 1,000 members of armed groups came forward to surrender and abandon the path of bloodshed.
- The historic tripartite Karbi Anglong Accord was signed on September 4, 2021 between the government of India, government of Assam and six factions of the Karbi.
- According to the agreement, the Government of Assam will evaluate favourably a proposal by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) to declare Karbi as the council’s official language.
- Official languages will continue to be English, Hindi, and Assamese.
- The Indian government would invest Rs 500 crore (Rs 100 crore per year) in the development of KAAC.
- Assam’s government will set aside Rs 500 crore for development projects that will be undertaken as part of the special package.
- To recruit the Karbi youth, the army, paramilitary forces, and police will need to organise a specific drive.
- The Assam administration would remove non-serious cases brought against armed groups in conformity with the law. The call for egregious situations, on the other hand, will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- The Assam government would pay a financial compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the relatives of those who died in the agitations for an autonomous state.
- Will ensure more autonomy for the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, safeguarding of Karbi people’s identity, language, culture, and other aspects of their culture, and concentrated development of the Council region without jeopardising Assam’s geographical and administrative integrity.
- Armed organisations will abandon violence and join the democratic process, while the administration would make it easier for their cadres to be rehabilitated.
- The groups also stated that reserving 10 seats on KAAC for residents from any community was pointless, and that there was no use in reserving seats in sixth schedule managed places like KAAC.