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Implementation move misleading: Upamanyu

Harishankar Brahma Committee report

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, April 30: Prabajan Virodhi Mancha (PVM) convener Upamanyu Hazarika, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court of India, has termed the move to implement the Harishankar Brahma Committee report on indigenous people’s rights over land in Assam as grossly misleading.

Addressing the media in Guwahati on Monday, Hazarika has questioned as to how the State Government can implement the recommendations of the committee’s two reports without making them public. He has said that the committee submitted two reports that are supposed to oppose each other. “What are the findings and recommendations of the committee? What are the differences between the two reports of the committee? How come the State Government implement the two reports of the committee when their recommendations are opposed to one another? Will implementation of the reports make 77,420 bighas of land in Sipajhar, 26,000 bighas in Palasbari, 22,000 bighas in Pathsala,  22,000 bighas in Naoboicha etc., free from encroachment by Bangladeshis? Will the recommendations of the committee enable the indigenous people of the State get back their land encroached upon by Bangladeshis? The long and the short of it is that the reports lack clarity,” Hazarika said.

Hazarika has also wanted to know who indigenous people of Assam are. “On April 9, 2018 the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) issued a directive to seek notification of PGR and VGR lands. The prime beneficiaries of such a step will be Bangladeshis. Have Bangladeshis been included as indigenous people of Assam?” he questioned, and added: “There’s no alternative to reservation to prevent the indigenous people of Assam from becoming minorities on their own land.”       

On senior ABVP functionary Simanta Das’ philosophy behind defending the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that ‘granting Indian citizenship to Hindus from Bangladesh to counter the growth of Muslim Bangladeshis in Assam, Hazarika said: “This has made it amply clear that the government has no intention to make lands of indigenous people of Assam encroached upon by Bangladeshi Muslims in Central Assam and Lower Assam free from encroachment. In the event of granting Indian citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus the indigenous people of the State will have to lose their lands to Hindu Bangladeshis as well.”

Hazarika has further said that some political leaders in the State have their own political ambitions at the cost of the indigenous people of Assam. “Will such leaders of the ruling parties show their sincerity to Bangladeshis by giving their own lands, houses and other property to the migrants?” he questioned.