NCM asked to clarify on the status of Bodos as religious minorities

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights while responding to the letter of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) dated 24th August 2012 urged the Commission to clarify its position with respect to the status of the Bodos as religious minorities considering that majority of the Bodos follow their animist “Bathou” religion and Christianity.

A team of the National Commission for Minorities consisting of the Member of the Planning Commission, Dr. Syeda Hameed, Advisor to the Planning Commission Dr. G .B Panda, and Member of the NCM, Keki N.  Daruwalla visited Assam on 11-12 August 2012 and released “Report on Visit to Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) and Dhubri District in Assam”.

ACHR in its report, “National Commission for Minorities: Communalising Assam Riots?” had questioned the report of being biased against the Bodos and not respecting the NCM Act.

The NCM in its reply to the ACHR stated that its report was not biased.

On the inclusion of the Planning Commission member Sayeeda Hameed, the NCM stated that “the Planning Commission had a stake in the welfare of the Camps and the means that could be deployed to bring relief to the victims”.

While reiterating that ACHR had no objection to inclusion of any person, ACHR stated that “the direct role of the Planning Commission to bring relief to the victims will raise questions of constitutionality given the federal nature of the country. It is the Ministry of Home Affairs which funds to meet expenses for emergency situations, and also reimburses the costs for maintenance of all the refugees (mainly Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu) and internally displaced persons (Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Tripura) to the concerned State governments.”

“The assertion that the Planning Commission had a stake in the welfare of the Camps and the means that could be deployed to bring relief to the victims is not convincing and begs answers.”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

ACHR further stated that theNCM responded to the cover letter to the Prime Minister and not the report itself. [Ends]

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