GUWAHATI: A fresh row has erupted on the status of Clause-VI of the Assam Accord with the Centre coming up with the following statement in the Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday.
"The High-level committee constituted by the Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) on Clause-VI of Assam Accord has submitted its report to the Government of Assam; and its recommendations are under the examination of the State government," stated Union Minister of State (MoS) (Home Affairs) G Kishan Reddy in a written reply to a question raised by Member of Parliament (MP) Sambhaji Chhattrapati in the Rajya Sabha.
After this reply of the Union Minister, a question has now arisen as to whether the Chief Minister actually submitted the panel's report to the Central government or not.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told the media here on Wednesday evening, "The high-level committee was formed so that the Clause-VI of the Assam Accord can be implemented. The government respectfully received the panel's report; and will take steps to implement the recommendations after weighing the pros and cons."
He added, "I assure that we will fulfil our commitments to the people of Assam."
This report was prepared by the 14-member 'High-powered Committee on the Implementation of Clause-VI of Assam Accord' headed by Justice (retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma. This panel set up by the MHA, submitted its report to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal here on February 25, 2020. The Chief Minister received the sealed report on behalf of Union Home Minister.
On July 15, 2019, the MHA constituted the high-powered committee. The 'Clause-VI' of the historic Assam Accord (signed on August 15, 1985) envisages Constitutional, legislative and administrative measures to safeguard, protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Talking to The Sentinel, a member of the high-level committee and general secretary of AASU (All Assam Students Union) Lurinjyoti Gogoi said, "The Union Minister's statement in the Rajya Sabha has clearly proved that both the Central and the State governments have betrayed the people of Assam. As the panel was constituted by the MHA, the State government cannot examine the report.
"The State Chief Minister must clarify whether he submitted the report to the Central government or not. If the State government is examining the panel's report, then also the CM must make its stand public on this issue.
Gogoi further alleged, "We had our doubts on the status of the panel's report —both before and after the committee submitted it to the CM. That's why, we made the report public in August. The Union Minister's statement in Parliament on Wednesday has confirmed our stand."
Alleging that "neither the State government nor the Centre is not all keen to implement the Clause-VI of Assam Accord", Gogoi added, "Now, we feel that the high-level committee was formed to stem the tide of the surging sentiments of the masses against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act)."
He further posed, "Why Union Joint Secretary of NE (MHA) Satyendra Garg – who was also a member of the panel – did not sign the report? This again substantiates our doubt about the status of the report."
AJYCP (Assam Jatiyatabadi Chatra Parishad) general secretary Palash Sangmai added, "The Union Minister's statement in the Rajya Sabha has proved that the State Chief Minister did not send the high-level committee's report to the Centre." He pointed out, "Even Union Home Minister Amit Shah is on record as saying that the Centre will implement all the recommendations of the high-level committee's report."
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