‘Nearly one year has passed since the report was submitted, but no step has been taken’
R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Feb 8: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has called upon the people of the State not to believe in “tall promises” made by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the Centre has miserably failed to fulfil its promise of implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath pointed out that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised to implement the recommendations of the committee set up by the Home Ministry for implementing Clause 6 of the Accord immediately after receiving the report.
“Nearly one year has passed since the committee had submitted its report, but till date, no step has been taken by the Centre to implement... It has proved that the Centre is not sincere on protecting the interests of the indigenous people of Assam,” he said.
Nath said that for years, successive governments at the Centre had claimed that Clause 6 of the Accord could not be implemented because of the fact that the definition of “Assamese people” could not be finalised. But the committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Biplab Sarma, has clarified the issue, he added.
He said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal received the report from the committee on behalf of the Union Home Minister on February 25 last year and till date, the Centre has not even accepted the report that was finalised after consulting cross sections of the people of Assam.
The AASU president, who was also a member of the committee, said the panel comprised three legal experts – one retired judge of Gauhati High Court and advocates general of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
“However, instead of accepting the committee’s report, the Centre has asked the State government to get the report examined by legal experts,” he said, alleging that the State government “is also keeping mum on the issue.”
Nath said that if the Centre wanted to get the views of legal experts, it should have done so immediately after receiving the report.
But keeping the report under wraps for one year proved that the Centre “is not interested in implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord to give constitutional protection to the indigenous people of the State,” he said.
Nath also expressed the view that the government is more interested in implementing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 rather than protecting the interests of the indigenous people of Assam.
It may be mentioned here that if the Clause 6 panel’s recommendations are implemented, the CAA will be nullified. One of the recommendations of the committee was introduction of Inner Line Permit system and the areas covered under the ILP were excluded from the purview of the CAA.