GUWAHATI: The process initiated by the Central Government for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord appears to have got stunted with the chairman of its proposed committee as well as a few other members not agreeing to be part of the high-level panel. Interestingly enough, the government has still not taken any steps to constitute a new panel in this regard. It is also unlikely that any such move would be undertaken before the Lok Sabha elections.
What is more, both Delhi and Dispur have realized, albeit belatedly that any such committee without the presence of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) would fail to deliver the goods. The AASU is a signatory of the Assam Accord. However, AASU has stated that it would not be a part of the committee.
Clause 6 of the Accord suggests that the government has to enact constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Meanwhile, a section of the intelligentsia has opined that such a panel would have been justified had it been constituted a year earlier. Referring to the timing for formation of the panel, they state that it has been politically motivated what with the Lok Sabha polls just two-and-half months away.
A Union Cabinet meeting chaired by PM Modi had approved the setting up of the panel.
On top of the terms of reference, the high-level committee was to examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement clause 6. The panel was also slated to hold discussions with various stakeholders, including social organizations, legal and constitutional experts and eminent persons from the fields of art, culture, literature, conservation, economics, linguistics and sociology. The committee was further asked to suggest measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.