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Dispute over 'Assamese' haunts Congress in State

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 1: They say 'spit in the sky, it falls in your eye'. There have been grapevines in Assam that the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam, as often as not, rakes up the debate on the definition of the word 'Assamese' as and when some tangible steps are taken for NRC update. However, this time around, the issue seems to have boomeranged on the ruling party at Dispur.

The definition of the word 'Assamese' has become the bone of contention among the state Congress leaders with none other than State Assembly Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi going the extra mile to define the magic word, and the party and the government refraining from backing him. And now it seems that both the State Government and the APCC are on a serious damage-control drive. They are literally out to undo all that the Speaker has done on the word 'Assamese'.

Talking to newsmen in the city today, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Anjan Dutta said: "The Speaker said he is not going to contest the Assembly polls in 2016. When one doesn't have to face the electorate, one can speak like anything. The definition of the word 'Assamese' tabled in the House by the Speaker on March 31 this year is his, not of the party. We will accept only the views of the party on this issue since we are all loyal party soldiers."

Meanwhile, talking to newsmen at Jorhat today, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said: "The Speaker shouldn't air such a view on the term 'Assamese'. It's his persol view. He gave his view, we the government will give our own view." The Chief Minister said: "According the Speaker, I got the party ticket for Lok Sabha by mistake."

The Speaker on March 31 this year tabled his two-page report compiled after a three-week exercise during which 53 organizations, including Xahitya Xabhas, students' organizations and ethnic groups were consulted.

The report noted that in the 1951 Census, the indigenous Assamese were defined as - "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 Assam, the language of the region." "After considering all aspects, I am of the opinion that to implement the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord (constitutiol safeguard), we need a definition for indigenous Assamese. That is why we have to take 1951 as the base year and the 1951 NRC as the basis," the Speaker noted, asking the State government to look into the report for taking necessary steps.

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