ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Hill State Demand.

Weekly Notes from Volume XII, No. 49, December 3, 1960.

One of the major consequences of the Official Language Bill rushed through the Assam Assembly so rashly by the State Government is that it has given a handle to the hill people to demand a State of their own. Their delega-tion, which was in Delhi recently to confer with the Prime Minister and others on the question, naturally made the fullest use of the scope for interested propaganda provided by the Bill. Declaring squarely that it was the Bill that had precipitated the demand for an au-tonomous State, members of the delegation went so far as to say that “conditions in Assam have led the tribal people...to go to the irre-sistible and irrevocable conclusion that their preservation, future and progress lie only in the creation of a separate State of their own”. And having got by chance what they deem to be an effective argument, they are not in the least inclined to let it slip...For giving scope for the formation of such an impression, the Assam Government has to thank itself. As was expected, the hill peoples’ delegation has now returned to Assam dissatisfied. But Shri Williamson A Sangma, leader of the delegation, was categorical when he stated on the eve of his departure that nothing short of an autono-mous State would satisfy them. That probably means that the whole tortuous process of pro-longed negotiations, bandying of statements and counter-statements and demonstrations which characterise all linguistic demands will have to be gone through now, causing much bitterness and rancour. The Prime Minister and Home Minister are reported to have indicated their anxiety to safeguard the interests, and satisfy the legitimate aspirations, of the hill people while being “reluctant and even unwil ling” to concede their demand for a separate State....

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