'Indigenous' buzz word in Xabhas meet
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 20: A meeting on the Assamese definition issue between the Assam Assembly Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi and the representatives of 12 Xahitya Xabhas, which was held here on Friday, focused primarily on including the word ‘indigenous’ in the Assamese definition. Expressing reservations against calling themselves only ‘Assamese’, the representatives of some Xabhas said that they would like to identify themselves as ‘Assamese indigenous people’ instead of ‘Assamese’.
The views expressed by some Xabhas on the Assamese definition in Friday’s meeting are likely to create more complexities for the government in fixing the Assamese definition.
In the meeting, representatives of 12 Xahitya Xabhas, including Deori, Mising, Purbanchal Tai, Karbi, Rabha, Tiwa, Manipuri, Bishnupriya Manipuri and Garo Xahitya Xabhas, were present.
Though most of these Xabhas extended different definitions of the term ‘Assamese’, the main focus was on the ‘indigenous’ word.
Later, while speaking to reporters, Speaker Prab Kr Gogoi said, “Though some Xahitya Xabhas raised their individual objections to the yardsticks of the definition, later most of them agreed that they have no objections to be identified as Assamese.” The Speaker further said, “The definition of Assamese should have been fixed earlier but it was not done due to non-holding of such discussions. Tomorrow, I will talk to representatives of 26 local organizations based in the State on the issue.”
The Speaker has also convened a meeting of various xabhas, ethnic and student organizations of the State on March 29 to deliberate on the issue of definition of ‘Assamese’. Assam Accord Implementation Minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman will also be present at the meeting.
AASU and 25 organisations had said all people whose mes, irrespective of caste, community, language or religion, were included in the 1951 NRC — are Assamese and eligible to enjoy safeguards as promised by Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.