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'Assamese' definition in cabinet panel's radar

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, July 13: The cabinet sub committee on NRC headed by Dr Bhumidhar Barman will discuss the issue of implementation of the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord during its next meeting, more than three months after the brouhaha over Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi's report on the definition of Assamese that was cold-shouldered by the State government.

The seven-member sub-committee, which has already submitted its report on NRC to the government, is likely to dwell on the definition of Assamese and prepare a separate report, sources said.

The government's initiative comes just months before the State goes to polls.

After coming to power for the third consecutive time in 2011, the Congress government had formed a cabinet sub-committee headed by Minister Prithvi Majhi to look into Clause 6 of Assam Accord which provides for constitutiol safeguard to the Assamese people.

Though that committee met twice, the issue of Assamese definition did not figure in either of the meetings.

Following extensive consultations with over 50 indigenous organizations, Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi prepared a report on the definition of Assamese which was tabled in the Assembly in March last, despite staunch opposition from the ruling Congress and AIUDF arguing that their legislators were not consulted by the Speaker. The resistance from Congress and AIUDF had compelled the Speaker to submit the report in his persol capacity in the House.

Both Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and APCC president Anjan Dutta then distanced themselves from the report, asserting that the Speaker's endeavor was a "persol initiative."

It was even debated whether the Speaker can table the report in the Assembly. The Speaker also submitted the report to the Chief Minister.

The Speaker recommended 1951 as the cut-off period and the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC), 1951, as the basis for definition of the 'Assamese people' for the purpose of reservation of seats and constitutiol safeguard as required by the Assam Accord.

He stated that 1951 Census Report defined the indigenous people of Assam thus: 'Indigenous person of Assam means a person belonging to the State of Assam and speaking the Assamese language or any tribal dialect of Assam, or in the case of Cachar, the language of the region.'

The AGP and the BJP had supported the Speaker's report.

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