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31 Jan 2017

Rajbangshis demand board

TT, Jalpaiguri/Siliguri, Jan. 30: Mamata Banerjee's move to form development boards for different hill communities has spurred a similar demand by Rajbangshis.
The demand has been raised within the party. Today, a Trinamul leader in Jalpaiguri led a march of around 3,000-odd Rajbangshi people under the banner of Rajbangshi Kshatriya Samiti that submitted a memorandum to the divisional commissioner in Jalpaiguri, demanding a development board.
They also wanted recognition for the Rajbangshi language.
Dhattrimohan Roy, the Trinamul leader, who is the chairman of the district primary school council, has asked for immediate publication of a white paper over the activities of Rajbangshi Bhasa Academy, formed by the state around six years ago.
"There are around two crore Rajbangshis living in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura and in the neighbouring country of Nepal. So far, the state has announced formation of as many as 15 development boards for different communities based in the Darjeeling hills. The population of all these communities is quite less than the Rajbangshi community," Roy, who is secretary of the samiti, said.
"We thus want the state to form a development board for Rajbangshis. Like other boards, this board can work for the socio-economic development of the community and can also help in conserving its cultural heritage," he said.
In their memorandum, the samiti representatives mentioned that priests in the Rajbangshi community should be provided a monthly allowance by the state like the clerics of minority communities
"There is no reason as why the priests of our community, who are associated with different pujas and festivals, should not get the allow-ance. Further, the Rajbangshi language needs to be recognised by the state and the Centre and if required, we will organise peaceful democratic movements to achieve these demands," Roy added.
This is the first time that a Trinamul leader has raised demands for the community.
"Unlike some other political parties and organisations and the militant outfit KLO, the samiti has not raised the demand for a separate state. This is the difference in their demands. Otherwise, demands for socio-economic development of members of the community and recognition of Rajbangshi language are common," an observer said.
According to him, as the demand has come from a party leader this time, it would be interesting to watch how Trinamul handles it.
"The state should expedite the process of issuing (scheduled caste) certificates to youths of our community. Also, the life and works of Thakur Panchanan Burma should be included in the history syllabus in schools. In schools, the Rajbangshi language should be introduced as a medium of instruction," Ramesh Roy, assistant general secretary of the samiti said.

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