GUWAHATI: On behalf of Assam Accord Implementation Minister Atul Bora, Health Minister Keshab Mahanta told the Opposition in the House today that the word 'khilanjia' (indigenous) needed no explanation as the people of the state know what the word meant.
During the Question Hour, Congress MLA Kamalakshya Dey Purkayantha said, "According to the Assam Accord, Assam won't accept any people entering the state from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), on the other hand, says that any minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan entering India due to religious persecution after March 31, 2014, will get Indian citizenship. These two 'conditions' are contradictory.
"The government uses the word 'khilanjia' as often as not. What's the definition of the word 'khilanjia'?"
Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia wanted to know from the government what the fate of the Assam Accord would be after the implementation of the CAA. "When will the government finalize the definition of the term 'Assamese' used in the Assam Accord?"
Many Opposition MLAs also said that the Assam Accord and the CAA are contradictory to one another.
In his reply, Keshab Mahanta said, "The word 'khilanjia' needs no explanation. The people of Assam know who 'khilanias' of the state are. To protect the 'khilanias' of the State is the responsibility of the government. And the government is shouldering this responsibility.
"Of course, the word 'Assamese' used in the Assam Accord has not been defined as yet. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) did form a high-level committee to define, among other things, the word 'Assamese'. The high-level committee submitted its report to the MHA. The Union Ministry is examining the legal side of the report.
"Earlier, the then Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi did submit a report on the definition of the word 'Assamese' after consultations with as many as 53 organizations. However, the Tarun Gogoi government did not accept that definition due to various reasons. The Gogoi government did form a Cabinet sub-committee to find the definition of the word 'Assamese'. That move also did not work out."
Distinguishing the Assam Accord and the CAA, Mahanta said, "The Assam Accord is an agreement signed between the AASU (All Assam Students' Union), the Assam Government and the Government of India within the ambit of the Constitution. The CAA, on the other hand, is an Act enacted by the Central government. These two are separate entities.
"The Centre has not implemented the CAA in Assam, nor has the state government received any instruction in this regard. The CAA is sub-judice since many cases against this Act is pending the Supreme Court of India."