AASU, ethnic groups call for 100 per cent seat reservation for indigenous peoples, allege Dispur plot to scuttle NRC update
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, March 17: The influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 25 ethnic organizations today coined a comprehensive definition of the term “Assamese” on the basis of the 1951 tiol Register of Citizens (NRC), and demanded hundred per cent reservation of seats for indigenous peoples in all elected local bodies in the State, Assam Assembly and Parliament on the basis of the Assam Accord.
The AASU and 25 ethnic organizations also accused the State government of plotting to derail the ongoing process of NRC update, by bringing up the issue of “Assamese” definition and sowing confusion among all stakeholders.
After discussing the issue threadbare at a joint meeting and addressing a press conference later at Guwahati, representatives of the AASU and 25 ethnic organizations made it clear that “considering the situation arising out of social transformation and partition of the country, all the communities and groups included in the 1951 NRC, irrespective of religion, language and ethnicity --- will comprise the indigenous and indigenous Assamese peoples of Assam.”
The meeting further agreed that the “Assamese” definition issue arises only for “reservation of seats and providing constitutiol safeguards, and the responsibility of drawing up a list of indigenous and indigenous Assamese peoples --- rests upon the State government.”
Referring to Clause No. 6 of the Assam Accord with the suggestion to reserve hundred per cent seats in all elected local bodies, Assam Assembly and Parliament, the meeting demanded that no illegal Bangladeshi be allowed to contest for any seat in the State.
In this context, the meeting referred to the Supreme Court’s observation that the State of Assam is facing “exterl aggression and interl disturbance” on account of large scale illegal migration of Bangladeshi tiols. It also referred to the Gauhati High Court’s observation that “large number of Bangladeshis present in the State of Assam have a major role in electing the representatives both to the Legislative Assembly and the Parliament, and consequently in the decision-making process towards building the tion, they have become the kingmakers.”
The AASU described the coining of the definition by the 26 organizations as a “historic development” and said the organizations will sit with various Xahitya Xabhas and work together on the issue of reservation of seats and constitutiol safeguards for the indigenous and indigenous Assamese peoples of the State.
“It was also decided in today’s meeting that the AASU and 25 ethnic organizations will proceed upon this issue in future --- on the basis of decisions taken earlier by the tripartite sub-committee formed with the representatives of the Central government, Assam government and the AASU,” AASU advisor Sammujal Bhattacharyya and All Assam Tribal Sangha president Aditya Khaklari said at the joint press conference.
Bhattacharyya said every time the issue of implementation of Assam Accord crops up, the State government tries to divert the issue by raising the issue of “Assamese” definition. The AASU advisor further alleged that the State government is hell-bent on shielding illegal infiltrators and “concealing actual facts.”
“At a time when the process of updating the tiol Register of Citizens has started, it appears that the State government has hatched a conspiracy to scuttle the exercise by raking up the issue of Assamese definition again. We warn the government not to create any more confusion,” he cautioned.
The 26 student and ethnic organizations participating in the meeting included the All Bodo Students Union, the All Rabha Students Union, the All Dimasa Students Union, the All Koch Rajbongshi Students Union, the All Assam Adivasi Students Union, the All Assam Gorkha Students Union, the Karbi Students Union, the All Tiwa Students Association, the Assam Tea Tribes Students Association and the All Mising Students Association (TMPK).