Why Panchayati Raj is wrong for the Sixth Schedule areas ?

People do not know much about the Sixth Schedule areas. There are Sixth Schedule areas in states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. These are the areas, inhabited by the tribal people, and is known as the Sixth Schedule areas which is protected by the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution for the tribal people so as to preserve their rights, culture, language, land, religion, tradition, society, etc.  So, these tribal people  have been given special rights and have been given seperate autonomy by their Autonomous Councils. For example in Assam, there are three sixth schedule areas, N.C.Hills Autonomous Council (Dima Hasao), Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and the Bodoland Territorial Council. In these areas, the Assamese language cannot be imposed, and the non tribals from Assam or outside Assam cannot buy lands. Only the customary laws of the land prevails. The indigenous tribes of the Sixth schedule areas are protected as an indigenous nation within the country. The policies/Acts of the Government are not applicable in these districts. Even the infamous Citizenship Amendment Act is not applicable in these areas. The Autonomous Councils are empowered to make their own laws for their own development.  They have their own elected body of Council members from their own small constituencies, which represents the indigenous people. In other words, we can say that it is a state within a state.

In the twin hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong of Assam, there already exists the Sixth Schedule which gives the indigenous community their special rights to make or amend laws. However, the introduction of Panchayati Raj was discussed by the Government of India and some of the leaders of the Sixth schedule. The provision of village council through which Panchayati Raj will be implemented were discussed. But this goes totally against the main idea of creating the Autonomous Council. This has been protested by many indigenous community as Panchayati Raj does not go hand in hand with the Sixth Schedule. The special powers given to the Sixth Schedule will be of no use or will be in clash if this Panchayat system is introduced in these special areas. It will not yet clear as to how the Government is planning to impose Panchayati Raj in these areas, but there will be lots of repercussions. The indigenous tribes of the twin hill districts are protesting because the implementation of Panchayati Raj will disturb the autonomy of the people and their absolute rights over the land and will hamper with their customary laws. These tribal communities believe that this imposition is a medium for the entry of the non-tribals or the outsiders to the preserved Sixth Schedule hill areas and to steal their natural resources, and to set up their businesses over there which will lead to commercialization of the tribal land. It is a threat for the indigenous tribes as they will be a minority if outsiders enter their areas and rule over them. The main idealogy of Sixth Schedule is to preserve and safeguard the rights of the indigenous community, which will not be possible if Panchayati Raj replaces them.

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