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�Give statutory safeguards to pre-1951 citizens�

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 11 - Prabrajan Virodhi Manch (PVM), in its submission to the high-level committee on Clause 6 has sought adequate stress on reserving the land, employment, trade licence and higher education opportunities for those citizens, who were the residents of Assam in 1951 or prior to that and their progeny.

The organisation, in its proposal, has said the safeguards have to be in two stages and two different levels, ensuring adequate accountability of the government and the political leaders.

�We have submitted our proposal on implementation of legal and Constitutional safeguards under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord to the committee. In the first stage, it is necessary to reserve land, employment, trade licence, higher education opportunities for those citizens who were residents in Assam in 1951 or prior, and their progeny. This will correct the imbalance and injustice to the people of Assam for taking the burden of 23 years of additional migrants, unlike the rest of India and so that the newly granted citizens post 1951 do not enjoy equal rights as that of the existing citizens,� PVM convener Upamanyu Hazarika said, while addressing the media here today.

There are over 115 ethnic communities in Assam, from 5,000 like Tai Phake and Tai Khamyang, to 60 lakh like the Koch Rajbongshis and the Tea Tribes, each facing threat to identity and existence. In the second stage, each of these communities has to be enabled to secure their identity and existence.�

PVM said implementation of the safeguards has to be done, by either Parliament or the State Assembly, by framing laws and it is therefore incumbent on those in power, particularly the Chief Minister and other leaders, to do the needful.

�At the first instance, the Chief Minister, MPs and MLAs should have advanced their proposal regarding Constitutional safeguards to the committee and the public could have given their suggestions; because regardless of what the public may suggest or the committee may propose, if the government doesn�t want to implement it, it will be an exercise in futility,� Hazarika added.

It urged the panel to first seek the views of the government, as only then their exercise will be meaningful. Otherwise, it will be conveniently discarded like the Brahma Committee Report.

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