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Consensus definition of 2000 meet not implemented

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, March 7 � Though the Assam Government is claiming that Clause 6 of the Assam Accord could not be implemented because of the delay in finalising the definition of �Assamese people�, a broad consensus was arrived at on the issue at a tripartite meeting way back in 2000.

According to information available with The Assam Tribune, a tripartite sub-committee headed by the then Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, was formed to suggest measures for implementation of Clauses 6 and 7 of the Assam Accord. As per provisions of Clause 6 of the Accord, the Centre promised to provide constitutional safeguard to the �Assamese people�, while as per Clause 7, the Centre was supposed to take up steps for all-round economic development of Assam to improve the standard of living of the people.

As per the minutes of the tripartite sub-committee meeting on April 10, 2000, it was decided that for the purpose of reservations only, persons whose names appeared in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951 and their descendents would be considered as �Assamese people�. This decision came in the wake of the demand made by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) for reservation of seats in the Assembly, Parliament and local bodies for Assamese people under provisions of Clause 6 of the Accord. However, the decision of the tripartite sub-committee was never implemented on the ground and till date, the State Government, despite forming a Cabinet Sub-committee and holding meetings with different organisations, failed to finalise the definition of Assamese people.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the issue, AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said reservation of seats for indigenous people is necessary to prevent a foreign national from getting elected to the Assembly, Parliament or local bodies. Some seats of the State are reserved for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates and no foreigner can contest from those seats. But there is need for preventing foreigners from contesting from other seats as a High Court order clearly indicated that a foreigner had once contested elections in Assam.

On the recent comments by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Minister of Assam Accord Implementation Dr Bhumidhar Barman on the issue, the AASU adviser said the State Government was trying to create confusion on the issue at a time when the process of updating the NRC has started. He alleged that the government is not keen on providing reservation to indigenous people.

Bhattacharya said that the government has not implemented other proposals given by the AASU under provisions of Clause 6 of the Accord, which include special constitutional status to the State with right over land and natural resources, protection of the satras and other monuments, introduction of inner-line permit system etc., though those issues can be settled without finalising the definition of Assamese people.

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Consensus definition of 2000 meet not implemented

GUWAHATI, March 7 � Though the Assam Government is claiming that Clause 6 of the Assam Accord could not be implemented because of the delay in finalising the definition of �Assamese people�, a broad consensus was arrived at on the issue at a tripartite meeting way back in 2000.

According to information available with The Assam Tribune, a tripartite sub-committee headed by the then Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, was formed to suggest measures for implementation of Clauses 6 and 7 of the Assam Accord. As per provisions of Clause 6 of the Accord, the Centre promised to provide constitutional safeguard to the �Assamese people�, while as per Clause 7, the Centre was supposed to take up steps for all-round economic development of Assam to improve the standard of living of the people.

As per the minutes of the tripartite sub-committee meeting on April 10, 2000, it was decided that for the purpose of reservations only, persons whose names appeared in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951 and their descendents would be considered as �Assamese people�. This decision came in the wake of the demand made by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) for reservation of seats in the Assembly, Parliament and local bodies for Assamese people under provisions of Clause 6 of the Accord. However, the decision of the tripartite sub-committee was never implemented on the ground and till date, the State Government, despite forming a Cabinet Sub-committee and holding meetings with different organisations, failed to finalise the definition of Assamese people.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the issue, AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said reservation of seats for indigenous people is necessary to prevent a foreign national from getting elected to the Assembly, Parliament or local bodies. Some seats of the State are reserved for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates and no foreigner can contest from those seats. But there is need for preventing foreigners from contesting from other seats as a High Court order clearly indicated that a foreigner had once contested elections in Assam.

On the recent comments by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Minister of Assam Accord Implementation Dr Bhumidhar Barman on the issue, the AASU adviser said the State Government was trying to create confusion on the issue at a time when the process of updating the NRC has started. He alleged that the government is not keen on providing reservation to indigenous people.

Bhattacharya said that the government has not implemented other proposals given by the AASU under provisions of Clause 6 of the Accord, which include special constitutional status to the State with right over land and natural resources, protection of the satras and other monuments, introduction of inner-line permit system etc., though those issues can be settled without finalising the definition of Assamese people.