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New definition of 'Assamese' must first be adopted by Assembly: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Sarma said this a day after AASU released details of the high-level committee's recommendations to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord

Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 Aug 2020 12:23 PM GMT

Guwahati: A day after All Assam Students' Union (AASU) released 'confidential' details of the high-level committee's recommendations to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, Assam finance and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that the entire process must first go through the Assam Assembly before the Centre can take cognizance.

"Unless the Assam Assembly ratifies the definition of the committee, the Central Government cannot move ahead. In the next phase, the Assembly must finalize this definition", he told media persons here.

Terming the student body AASU as a 'political party', Sarma rued the apex student body's releasing of the confidential report and claimed that it will make its implementation 'more difficult.'

"Earlier, AASU was a non-political outfit. Now, however, they are a political party or are on the verge of becoming a political outfit", Sarma stated.

The Minister also added that the "committee has given 2 years for the implementation", adding that the Assam state government is on the "right track" as far as the implementation of the recommendations is concerned.

In the same breath, Sarma also said that the Central Government has already taken notice of the implementation and process to enact these "safeguards" has kickstarted in the power corridors of New Delhi. "By constituting the delimitation commission, the Centre has already started this process", stated Sarma.

Questioning how the new policy to determine Assamese citizens will be decided, Sarma said, "Another NRC comes into the picture; is there a question of that? The committee has said that only documents will suffice; however, once documents are said to suffice, there will be gross duplicity of the same."

It needs mention here that the high-level committee appointed by the government to answer the question has decided "Assamese people" should mean anyone living in the state before 1951 and their descendants.

The committee recommends that land rights in Assam be restricted to those defined as "Assamese" as per its recommendation.

It also suggests that 80%-100% of Assam's seats in Parliament as well as in the state Assembly and other local bodies should be earmarked for "Assamese people".

The committee, set up in July 2019 by the Union home ministry, was tasked with implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 that was signed by the Centre, the government of Assam and Assamese nationalist groups including the All Assam Students' Union.

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