GUWAHATI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is examining the three new proposals forwarded to it by the high- level committee (HLC) on Clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord. The Committee has suggested that the terms and reference of the panel be extended to include these new proposals which the Committee feels will further ensure protection of rights of the Assamese as envisoned in Clause 6 of the Accord. The new proposals pertain to the Assamese people’s land rights; seat reservation in Parliament; and job reservation in Central government services, public sector undertakings (PSUs), and other private organisations operating in Assam.
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord reads, “Constitutional, 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.”
Meanwhile, the MHA is closely studying as to “any Constitutional hurdles” with reference to reservation of seats for Assamese in the Parliament. There are 14 Parliamentary seats for Assam.
On the other hand, Committee sources informed that the panel is awaiting the nod of the MHA on the three new proposals prior to holding discussions with various stakeholders.
As per the terms and reference announced earlier, the Committee will examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. It will hold discussions with various stakeholders including social organizations, legal and constitutional experts, and eminent persons from the field of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists.
The Committee will assess the appropriate level of seat reservation in the Assam Legislative Assembly and other local bodies for the Assamese people. It will also suggest measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.
The Committee will also recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the Government of Assam for the Assamese people. It may suggest any other measures as may be necessary to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
The Committee will submit its report within six months from the date of notification. The Committee was constituted on July 15, this year. The next meeting of the committee will be held on August 17.
The 14 member high-level committee is being headed by Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma, former judge of Gauhati High Court as chairman.