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Cabinet nod to panel for implementation of clause 6 of Assam Accord

Assam Accord,Citizenship Act,Indigenous Assamese groups

North East Students’ Organization (NESO) stage a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, in Guwahati on November 20.(PTI Photo)

The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved the setting up a high-level committee for the implementation of clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The clause aims to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

The move to set up the panel comes in the backdrop of the bill that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to make it easier for non-Muslims from the neighbouring countries to become Indian citizens. Indigenous Assamese groups see the proposed amendment a violation of clause 6 and the spirit of the accord, which was signed in 1985 after a six-year agitation against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They fear it would lead to fresh migrations of Bangladeshi Hindus to Assam.

Union Home minister Rajnath Singh, who briefed reporters on the issue in Delhi, said it has been felt that the clause 6 has not been fully implemented even almost 35 years after the accord was signed to detect and deport illegal Bangladeshi immigrants .

He said the cabinet therefore approved the setting up of the panel to suggest constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards as envisaged in clause 6. Singh added the committee shall examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement the clause.

Singh said the panel will also consult stakeholders and assess the required quantum of reservation of seats in Assam assembly and local bodies for Assamese people. He added the panel will also examine the requirement of measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam, the quantum of reservation in employment under the government of Assam and other measures to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people.

Singh said his ministry will issue the composition and terms of reference for the panel separately. He added people from among the state’s intelligentsia will be a part of the panel.. He added someone from the state’s intelligentsia will head the panel.

“It is expected that the setting up of the committee will pave the way for the implementation of the Assam Accord in letter and spirit and will help fulfil longstanding expectations of the Assamese people,’’ a government statement said.

The cabinet also approved measures to fulfil the outstanding issues related to the Assam’s Bodo community, Singh said.

The 2003 Bodo Accord had resulted in the establishment of a Bodoland Territorial Council under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

However, there have been representations from different organizations of Bodos to fulfil various outstanding demands, the statement said.

First Published: Jan 03, 2019 14:23 IST

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