What Is Article 244A And Why Assam Demands For An Autonomous State?
The demand for forming an autonomous state has been raised within Assam and the submission of the memorandum has been made to the Centre seeking the implementation of article 244A of the Indian Constitution.
What is article 244A of the Indian Constitution?
Article 244A allows for the creation of an autonomous state within Assam in certain tribal areas.
Article 244 and 244A of the Indian constitution deals with scheduled and tribal areas.
It deals with the formation of an autonomous state consisting of certain tribal areas in Assam and the creation of a local legislature or Council of Ministers or both therefor.
What is an Autonomous State?
An autonomous area can be defined as an area of a country that has a degree of autonomy or has freedom from an external authority.
It is an area that is typically geographically distant from the country or is populated by a national minority.
The autonomous areas in the country differ from federal units and independent states in the sense that they in relation to the majority or other subnational territories in the same country, enjoy a special status including some legislative powers within the state.
The Background Behind The Demand –
The demand for an autonomous state in Assam has been since the 1980s.
Initially, demand for a separate hill state came up in certain sections of the tribal population of undivided Assam in the 1950s.
Several political parties in the year 1960, of the hill areas, united to form the All-Party Hill Leaders Conference and had demanded a separate state.
Post this, Meghalaya was formed in the year 1972 as the outcome of these prolonged agitations.
At the time, the leaders of the North Cachar Hills and Karbi Anglong were also part of this movement.
Options were given to them to stay in Assam or join Meghalaya. They stayed in Assam on the promise of the Congress government of providing greater powers, including article 244A.
Since then, demands were made for the implementation of article 244A within the state. Seeking its implementation, a violent movement also took place in the 1980s.
Recently in February 2021 demanding the same, around 1,040 militants of five militant groups of Karbi Anglong district laid down arms at an event in Guwahati in the presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appearing in a video message promised to implement article 244A of the Indian Constitution recently in order to safeguard the interest of the people in tribal majority districts of Assam.