Even as the Supreme Court is seized with the matters of NRC update in Assam as well as the porous Bangladesh border which the government simply cannot bring itself to plug effectively, the Tarun Gogoi government is gearing up to open another front in the upcoming electoral battle. The cabinet sub-committee on NRC headed by Dr Bhumidhar Barman is reportedly slated to discuss the issue of implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord soon. This is what the earlier cabinet sub-committee headed by Prithvi Majhi was to take up for consideration after the Congress hat-trick in Assam in 2011, but never got around to it in two desultory meetings. With the urgency of 2016 assembly elections barely ten months away, the Bhumidhar Barman cabinet sub-committee is now likely to dwell on the ‘Assamese’ definition and prepare a separate report. This after the Tarun Gogoi government cold-shouldered the report by Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi on the definition of Assamese three months ago. After Congress and AIUDF legislators blocked the Speaker from tabling the report in the House, he submitted it to the Chief Minister while Pradesh Congress president Anjan Dutta loudly derided it as a ‘persol initiative’. It was clear then that the Congress was deeply uncomfortable with the Speaker’s recommendation that 1951 be the cut-off period and the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC), 1951 be the basis for definition of the ‘Assamese people’, so that seats may be reserved for the indigenous people so identified and constitutiol safeguards provided to them. Will a divisive attempt now begin to consolidate the immigrant votebank while setting indigenous communities at each other’s throats in the me of defining who an ‘Assamese’ is? This is what all responsible political parties and social groups must be on guard against in the coming days.
More politics with 'Assamese'?