Dispur ponders over 'Assamese'

AASU-ethnic organizations meet Speaker, AAMSU opts out, AJYCP for UN formula


Indigenous communities, peoples and tions are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-domint sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.


GUWAHATI, March 21: The process of filising the definition of 'Assamese' has gathered momentum in the State with a delegation of 26 indigenous organizations, including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), meeting Assembly Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi on Saturday to hold discussions on the issue.

Talking to reporters after the meeting held in the Assembly Central Hall, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharjee said, “Irrespective of caste, creed, language and religion, those whose mes were included in the 1951 NRC are the indigenous people of the State and the indigenous Assamese people should be given constitutiol safeguards. We have told the same to the Speaker.”

Bhattacharjee said that by starting the debate on the definition of Assamese, the State government is trying to derail the process of updating the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC).

“We have given some information about the judgments of the Gauhati High Court and the Supreme Court on the illegal Bangladeshi issue to the Speaker during the course of the meeting,” he said, adding, “The Supreme Court, in its judgment, observed that Assam has been experiencing interl disturbances due to continuous influx of Bangladeshis into the State. The High Court, in its judgment, stated that many illegal Bangladeshis have successfully included their mes in the voters’ list and they have become kingmaker in State politics. If the influx of cross border tiols continues at this rate, Assam will have a Bangladeshi chief minister in the next 10 years.”

The 26 organizations also demanded reservation of seats for indigenous people in the Assembly, Parliament and civic bodies, like the people who belong to SC and ST communities. “Due to non-implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord in the last 30 years, illegal Bangladeshis have encroached upon vast tracts of forest land, the Kaziranga tiol Park and land in tribal belts and blocks in last several years. Due to such continuous aggression by illegal Bangladeshis, the State’s demographic pattern has changed too,” Bhattacharjee said.

The students’ body also indirectly criticized some parties which raise hue and cry when words like ‘illegal migrants’ and ‘indigenous’ are uttered in the Assembly. “Such a trend is not good for the State,” the AASU advisor added.

Aditya Khaklari, general secretary, All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS), who was also the part of the delegation, said, “Today we formally informed the Speaker about the decision on the Assamese definition, which we have taken in a recent meeting of ours. The State must be freed of illegal Bangladeshis and the indigenous people must get constitutiol safeguards. We also support 100 per cent reservation for indigenous people in governce.”

Tankeswar Rabha, chief executive member, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, said, “We stick to the decisions taken by the 26 organizations on this issue. Assam should be for the Assamese and there is no place for illegal Bangladeshis here. We hope the Speaker will take some strong measures in this regard.”      

Meanwhile, members of the All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) skipped the meeting with the Speaker on Saturday despite repeated requests, sigling its unwillingness to cooperate with other organizations on the filising of the Assamese definition issue. 

On the other hand, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), in a press meet held here on Saturday, supported the AASU’s demand that constitutiol safeguards be provided to indigenous people of the State on the basis 1951 NRC. However, the AJYCP said that the definition of Assamese should be filised on the basis of the definition of indigenous community given by the United tions. 

The AJYCP also made it clear that such definition should not be given by any organizations or persons in the State and it should be fixed on the basis of the UN definition.

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