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Pact with rebel groups for peace in Karbi Anglong


Moving to end decades of violence in Karbi Anglong in Assam, the Centre signed a tripartite agreement with five insurgent groups from the region and the state government.


GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Centre-State Relations, Inter-State Dispute Redressal Mechanisms)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Karbi Anglong Crisis
  2. Highlights of the Karbi-Anglong Peace Agreement
  3. Back to the Basics: About Autonomous District Councils (ADCs)
  4. Back to the Basics: Special Status of Sixth Schedule Areas

About the Karbi Anglong Crisis

  • Located in central Assam, Karbi Anglong is the state’s largest district and a melting pot of ethnicities and tribal groups — Karbi, Dimasa, Bodo, Kuki, Hmar, Tiwa, Garo, Man (Tai speakers), Rengma Naga. Its diversity also generated different outfits and fuelled an insurgency that did not allow the region to develop.
  • The Karbis are a major ethnic group of Assam, dotted by several factions and splinters. The history of the Karbi group has been marked by killings, ethnic violence, abductions and taxation since the late 1980s.
  • Insurgent groups of Karbi Anglong district like People’s Democratic Council of Karbi Longri (PDCK), Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), etc. originated from the core demand of forming a separate state.
  • Some of the other 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.

Highlights of the Karbi-Anglong Peace Agreement

  • 5 militant organizations (KLNLF, PDCK, UPLA, KPLT and KLF) laid down arms and more than 1000 of their armed cadres have given up violence and joined the mainstream of society.
  • A special development package of Rs. 1000 crore will be allocated over five years by the Central Government and the Assam Government to take up special projects for the development of Karbi areas.
  • This agreement will transfer as much autonomy as possible in exercising their rights to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, without affecting the territorial and administrative integrity of Assam.
  • A provision has been made in this agreement to rehabilitate the cadres of armed groups.
  • The Government of Assam will set up a Karbi Welfare Council to focus on the development of the Karbi people living outside the KAAC area.

Back to the Basics: About Autonomous District Councils (ADCs)

  • The Autonomous districts and regional councils (ADCs) are empowered with civil and judicial powers can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear the trial of cases involving the tribes.
  • Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specify the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
  • Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
  • In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
  • These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
  • Each autonomous district and regional council consist of not more than 30 members, of which four are nominated by the governor and the rest via elections, all of whom remain in power for a term of five years.

Back to the Basics: Special Status of Sixth Schedule Areas

  • The Sixth Schedule was originally intended for the predominantly tribal areas (tribal population over 90%) of undivided Assam, which was categorised as “excluded areas” under the Government of India Act, 1935 and was under the direct control of the Governor.
  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states.
  • In Assam, the hill districts of Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong and West Karbi and the Bodo Territorial Region are under this provision.
  • The Sixth Schedule provides for autonomy in the administration of these areas through Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) and the special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
  • The Governor is empowered to increase or decrease the areas or change the names of the autonomous districts. While executive powers of the Union extend in Scheduled areas with respect to their administration in fifth schedule, the sixth schedule areas remain within executive authority of the state.

-Source: Indian Economy

March 2024