Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

‘Indigenous’ is the right word

‘Indigenous’ is the right word

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Sep 2019 6:56 AM GMT

With the High-Level Committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord inviting organizations and individuals to present suggestions and recommendations, it is encouraging to find that most indigenous groups are demanding replacement of the word ‘Assamese people’ in the particular Clause by ‘Indigenous people.’ A common platform of as many as eight socio-literary organizations representing as many tribal communities have suggested replacing ‘Assamese people’ in Clause 6 as ‘Indigenous Tribal and Assamese people of Assam’ – which, according to it covers all non-immigrant communities currently residing in the state. According to this common platform, Constitutional safeguards should be provided to the various indigenous tribal as well as indigenous Assamese communities of the state on the basis of the National Register of Citizens of 1951. It has also fervently pleaded before the High-Level Committee that March 25, 1971 should in no way be considered for providing Constitutional safeguard to any community for obvious reasons. Looking back, one must assume that the signatories of the Assam Accord had, by using the word ‘Assamese people’ with their limited knowledge and understanding, only meant all indigenous people of Assam while signing the Assam Accord. Though two of the three signatories – then All Assam Students’ Union general secretary Bhrihu Kumar Phukan (he was also convenor of the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, a common platform constituted by the AASU to take on board all other organizations demanding detection and expulsion of the illegal migrants), and AAGSP convenor Biraj Kumar Sharma – have already passed away, it is for the third and only surviving signatory of the Assam Accord to make a public statement saying that they had really meant ‘Indigenous communities of Assam’ by the word ‘Assamese people’ as mentioned in Clause 6. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) too should consider making such a statement, with Axam Xahitya Xabha, Asom Jatiyabadi Yuva-Chatra Parishad and all other organizations which were part of the AAGSP in 1979-85 also stating the same. There is no harm in making that statement. There should be no reason why these organizations cannot make such a statement. It will rather only strengthen the movement against the illegal migrants, especially in the post-NRC scenario, and also at a time when the Narendra Modi government appears to be serious about implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. There is an urgent need for a wide consensus on actually replacing the words ‘Assamese people’ by ‘Indigenous tribal and Assamese people’ in Clause 6. The AASU is best positioned in leading this move, because it enjoys the goodwill of all other student bodies representing different various indigenous communities of the state. The AASU has been also holding a wide umbrella for all to come under for common causes affecting all indigenous people of Assam in the past few years, especially in getting the NRC processs rolling. Yes, the BJP will try to oppose such a move because it does not recognise the existence and identity of the indigenous communities and their languages and culture. That probably is why Sarbananda Sonowal has not been heard chanting the three magic words ‘jaati-maati-bheti’ that had catapulted him to become the Chief Minister of the state.

Also Read: Ethnic People Need Constitutional Safeguards: Indigenous Muslims

Next Story