A group of tribal youths marched naked on the streets of Diphu, the head quarters of Assam’s Karbi Anglong district on Friday seeking protection of their rights allegedly being usurped by non-tribals.
The protesters drawn from 24 different organisations marched in the buff demanding among others preparation of separate electoral rolls ahead of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) elections, due in June.
“We have been demanding an updated voter list for years. But the government hasn’t responded. The present list has names of thousands of non-tribals, stripping us of our rights,” a protester told a local news channel.
A release issued on behalf of the organisations claimed that they decided to stage the nude protest to show how tribals in the district have been left “politically naked” as non-tribals have taken away their rights.
The protesters alleged that due to dilution of provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the constitution, funds for development and government jobs have been taken away by outsiders.
Alleged corruption by those in power in KAAC and the state government was also highlighted.
“Since they are doing corruption nakedly and shamelessly, we are doing this naked demonstration,” said the release.
The protesters were later dispersed by the police.
“There were nearly 30 protesters in semi-nude state and around seven completely naked. They dressed and left after police intervened. A case of obscenity is being lodged against them,” district commissioner Adil Khan said.
Karbi Anglong is the largest district in Assam and enjoys autonomous status under provision of the Sixth Schedule.
The district’s population of nearly 1 million as per 2011 census comprises mainly tribes like Karbis, Bodos, Dimasas, Garos etc.