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Rights of the Indigenous

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 July 2017 12:00 AM GMT

One of the most outstanding demands made before the Committee for Protection of Land Rights of the Indigenous People of Assam was that a new land policy and land law based on the policy of safeguarding the land rights of the indigenous people of the State should be declared. The AASU delegation urged the Committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma, that Clause 6 of the Assam Accord should be basis for this land law to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people. Clause 6 of the Assam Accord (under the sub-heading Safeguards and Economic Development) states: “Constitutiol, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.” The delegation also demanded that the model of allowing only the indigenous people with the right to hold land, which is prevalent in several northeastern States, should also be followed in Assam. The AASU delegation further demanded that a transparent survey of the entire land area of the State should be conducted with the application of modern technology. Besides, there was the need to ensure that agricultural land was not transferred for non-agricultural purposes and that there was precise information on the size of the land under the occupation of tea estates.

What is important in the present context is a clear policy and law to determine what is to be done to the land already in possession of people other than the indigenous people of the State. The Committee must be aware that the bulk of the prime land of Guwahati (on the G.S. Road) is not owned by the indigenous people of the State. There are huge plots of land elsewhere too not owned by indigenous people of the State. How does the new land policy and law propose to deal with such land?

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