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Assam govt still studying Clause 6 report

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Sept 16 - The Centre on Wednesday put the Assam government in a tight spot when it revealed that the Sarbananda Sonowal government is still studying the Clause 6 committee�s report.

In reply to an un-starred question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said that the high level committee constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord has submitted its report to the Government of Assam and its recommendations are under examination of the State government.

The minister, however, evaded questions like whether the report has been submitted to the Central government and how much time the government is likely to take to examine and accept the recommendations.

The Clause 6 committee�s report was initially slated to be submitted to the Union Home Minister but following delays, the State government accepted it in February.

Reacting to the development, Rajya Sabha member and Assam Congress president Ripun Bora said the State government and the Centre are working in tandem. �They are not at all interested in implementing the Clause 6. It was a jumla,� he said, claiming that the Assam government deliberately did not send the report to the Centre.

However, following months of inaction, the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) on August 12 made public the committee�s report on the Assam Accord�s Clause 6, which pertains to safeguards to the indigenous people of the State for preservation and promotion of Assamese identity and heritage.

The report seeks reservation for the �Assamese� in Parliament, State Assembly and local bodies, besides regulation of entry of people from other states into Assam.

AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya had told newsmen that the report was submitted over five months back, but the State government as well as the Centre remained silent on its implementation.

Bhattacharya said the AASU had expected that the committee�s recommendations would be taken seriously. �But as the government has remained quiet on its contents and about its implementation, we decided to make it public so that people in Assam know about it,� he added.

On the other hand, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that his government is committed to implementing the clause in letter and spirit. He added both the Assam government and the Centre have been making efforts in this regard.

Justice (Retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma-led 13-member committee submitted the report to Sonowal in February. None of the three AASU members in the committee was present when the report was submitted. The AASU was upset that the report was not handed directly to the Union Home Minister.

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