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Centre went back on its assurance: Mahanta

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 13 - At the time of signing of the Assam Accord, the Government of India had assured to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951, but no follow up action was taken, said former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who was also a signatory of the Assam Accord. He also said that the Government of India must take up the issue of deportation of Bangladeshi nationals with the Government of the neighbouring country to deal with the problem of influx.

The demand for updating the NRC of 1951 was raised by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) in a letter to the Prime Minister on January 18, 1980. The letter was signed by Mahanta, who was then the president of the AASU. Again on February 2, 1980, the AASU submitted a detailed memorandum to the Prime Minister, in which, the demand for updating the NRC was raised again. But the issue was not mentioned in the Assam Accord.

Replying to a question why the issue of updating the NRC was not included in the Assam Accord, Mahanta asserted that at the time of signing of the Assam Accord, the Central Government had assured that the NRC would be updated. �It is a fact that the issue was not mentioned in the Accord. But we were given an assurance that immediate steps would be taken to update the NRC. Similarly, dissolution of the State Government to hold fresh elections was not mentioned in the Accord and as per the assurance given, fresh elections were held in the State within months of signing of the Accord,� he pointed out.

Mahanta said that the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Government came to power in the later part of 1985 and in the following year, efforts were made to start the process of updating the NRC. But the Central Government did not play its part in the process, while, on the other hand, some organizations of the State had also opposed the move. He said that the issue was discussed on several occasions in tripartite meetings involving the State and Central Governments and the AASU to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, but the Centre did not show interest and the project never got off the ground. When the AGP led alliance Government came to power again in 1996, the issue was again discussed, but �we did not get positive response from the Government of India,� he alleged.

Meanwhile, replying to a question on his feelings on the implementation of the Accord on the eve of completion of 33 years of signing of it, Mahanta said that it would not be possible to solve the problem of infiltration of foreigners till the Government of India forcefully takes up the issue with the Government of Bangladesh. He pointed out that the Union Home Ministry is the nodal Ministry for the implementation of the Accord and without active cooperation of the Centre, it is not possible for the State Government to deal with the problem.

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Centre went back on its assurance: Mahanta

GUWAHATI, Aug 13 - At the time of signing of the Assam Accord, the Government of India had assured to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951, but no follow up action was taken, said former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who was also a signatory of the Assam Accord. He also said that the Government of India must take up the issue of deportation of Bangladeshi nationals with the Government of the neighbouring country to deal with the problem of influx.

The demand for updating the NRC of 1951 was raised by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) in a letter to the Prime Minister on January 18, 1980. The letter was signed by Mahanta, who was then the president of the AASU. Again on February 2, 1980, the AASU submitted a detailed memorandum to the Prime Minister, in which, the demand for updating the NRC was raised again. But the issue was not mentioned in the Assam Accord.

Replying to a question why the issue of updating the NRC was not included in the Assam Accord, Mahanta asserted that at the time of signing of the Assam Accord, the Central Government had assured that the NRC would be updated. �It is a fact that the issue was not mentioned in the Accord. But we were given an assurance that immediate steps would be taken to update the NRC. Similarly, dissolution of the State Government to hold fresh elections was not mentioned in the Accord and as per the assurance given, fresh elections were held in the State within months of signing of the Accord,� he pointed out.

Mahanta said that the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Government came to power in the later part of 1985 and in the following year, efforts were made to start the process of updating the NRC. But the Central Government did not play its part in the process, while, on the other hand, some organizations of the State had also opposed the move. He said that the issue was discussed on several occasions in tripartite meetings involving the State and Central Governments and the AASU to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, but the Centre did not show interest and the project never got off the ground. When the AGP led alliance Government came to power again in 1996, the issue was again discussed, but �we did not get positive response from the Government of India,� he alleged.

Meanwhile, replying to a question on his feelings on the implementation of the Accord on the eve of completion of 33 years of signing of it, Mahanta said that it would not be possible to solve the problem of infiltration of foreigners till the Government of India forcefully takes up the issue with the Government of Bangladesh. He pointed out that the Union Home Ministry is the nodal Ministry for the implementation of the Accord and without active cooperation of the Centre, it is not possible for the State Government to deal with the problem.

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