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1971 can�t be cut-off year: Chakravartty

By STAFF Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 14 - Senior journalist and president of the Journalists� Association of Assam (JAA) DN Chakravartty today said that although the basic principle of the Assam Accord of 1985 cannot be disputed, yet describing March 25, 1971 as cut-off year for detection of foreigners living illegally in Assam will not be accepted on constitutional, legal and political grounds.

Chakravartty said that while the actual date of determination of citizenship should have been August 15, 1947, owing to the difficulties of ascertaining the actual population set-up of 1947, it would be constitutionally valid and more appropriate from the practical point of view to accept January 1, 1951 as the cut-off year for determining Indian citizenship from among those persons hailing from Pakistan.

Chakravartty said that the partition of India was based on the two-nation theory and 80 per cent of undivided India�s Muslim population went to Pakistan, leaving about three crore Muslims in India, and therefore, the logical and practical conclusion of the partition would have been the exchange of population since Gandhiji fought for a united India.

Chakravartty added that Indian leaders, especially Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru did not advocate exchange of population, although leaders like Sardar Patel, KM Munshi and a few others silently supported the theory of exchange of population.

�Although Md Ali Zinnah harangued for over a decade of the possible persecution of the Muslims in a Hindu-majority India, Indian Muslims continued to have equal freedom with the rest of the countrymen in Hindu-India after 1947. What is more astounding is the fact that over five lakh pure Pakistanis holding valid passports vanished from Indian soil, while over nine million Muslims from East Pakistan and Bangladesh infiltrated into Indian territory in the last 69 years,� Chakravartty said.

Referring to the validity of the Assam Accord of 1985, Chakravartty said that the Parliament of India had not given approval to the accord signed in the presence of the Prime Minister of India, and from the legal point of view the Assam Accord could not be, therefore, held as a constitutional document. �As such, expressing views about validity of 1951 as the cut-off year is quite rational,� he said.

By signing the Assam Accord, the Assam movement leaders had most ignorantly and irresponsibly allowed Indian citizenship to over five lakh East Pakistani Muslims, who infiltrated into Assam between 1947 and 1971, he added.

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