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Assam CM receives high-power Clause six committee report

Assam CM receives high-power Clause six committee report
February 25
11:07 2020

Guwahati, Feb 25 : Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday along with his entire cabinet received the report of the high-level committee formed to review and suggest measures for implementation of Clause six of 1985 Assam accord.

Committee chairperson retired justice of Gauhati High Court B.K. Sharma handed a copy of the report to the chief minister in the presence of a majority of the panel members.

State finance and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma later said Sonowal would forward the report to union home minister Amit Shah either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.

However, three All Assam Students Union (AASU) leaders – general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi, president Dipanka Kumar Nath and Chief Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya – skipped the programme.

Earlier, Gogoi said that the 14-member panel had handed over its report in a sealed cover to state Chief Secretary Sanjay Krishna through the Assam Accord Implementation Department.

Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord pledges to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

The committee has proposed 1951 as the cut-off year for implementing the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.

The ILP, a mechanism to control the entry of outsiders into the state, has been implemented in the states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. It was also introduced in Manipur in the wake of protests over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act that was introduced recently.

According to sources, the high-level committee has recommended that those residing in Assam since 1951, and their descendants, are to be considered as the indigenous people of the state.

The Union Home Ministry set up the panel to examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, and suggest measures.

The Union Home Ministry had in January last year announced formation of the high-level committee headed by retired Union Secretary M.P. Bezbaruah, but the move came a cropper with six of the nine members refusing to take part.

The Centre then reconstituted the panel with 14 members in July last year, naming Sharma as the chairman.

According to ministry sources, apart from 67 per cent reservation for indigenous people of the state, the committee has also suggested reservation in terms of legislative and Lok Sabha seats for them.

The Assam Accord of 1985 was signed after the north-eastern state witnessed a six-year-long violent movement from 1979 to 1985 seeking detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis.

The movement finally led to the accord between the Centre and leaders of the agitation belonging to the All Assam Students Union and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad in the presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.


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