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Safeguard of indigenous people doubtful, says PVM

By CITY CORRESPONDENT
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GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - The decision taken by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is more like a statement of intent rather than a specific step to be taken to safeguard the indigenous people and save them from becoming a minority in the face of Bangladeshi aggression, said the Prabrajan Virodhi Manch (PVM).

PVM convenor and Supreme Court advocate Upamanyu Hazarika said at a press meet here today that it�s an irony that for Assam, the priority is migrants over the indigenous people. While the Citizenship Amendment Bill granting citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring countries was introduced two years after the BJP was elected, promises of safeguarding indigenous people are made with barely five months to go for the elections. These proposed measures are in-substantive, require parliamentary sanction and clearly cannot be fulfilled before the elections, he pointed out.

Coming before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, this appears to be yet another set of promises, when results are the need of the hour. The clarification by the Union Cabinet that land policy and related safeguards of jobs, trade licences, etc., will be by the State government demonstrates that effective safeguards like land, government employment and benefits, educational reservations are within the domain of the State government and State Legislature. In this regard, the State government has completely slept over for the last two and a half years, escaping and abdicating their responsibility and core election promise of protecting Jaati, Maati, Bheti, Hazarika said.

Meanwhile, the PVM has urged the State government to convene an urgent session of the State Assembly and pass a legislation similar to the one passed by the BJP-led Manipur Assembly reserving land, employment and other benefits for the indigenous communities and pre-1951 citizens of the state and their descendants.

�It did not require the Union Cabinet in the case of Manipur to give a clarification that the Manipur BJP government could have such a Bill passed by the Assembly. Now that the Central government has lent spine to the State leadership in Assam, they should seize the opportunity and pass the law,� Hazarika stated.

�This is intrinsic in Clause 6 of the Assam Accord which promises legal and constitutional safeguards to the Assamese people to give them superior rights over resources as a compensation of taking additional burden of 23 years of foreigners� influx, unlike the rest of India. The only clear indication from the Cabinet decision is that of seat reservation in the Legislative Assembly and local bodies. Without reservation of land, government employment benefits, etc., on 1951 basis, such seat reservation will be of no benefit as the elected indigenous representatives will only cater to and be dependent on the Bangladeshi voters, who form majority in many of these constituencies� the PVM convenor said further.

Meanwhile, the PVM has urged the government to take immediate steps to ensure reservation of land, government jobs., etc on the basis of 1951, re-verification of NRC, no further thrusting of foreigners through instruments like Citizenship Amendment Bill and to save the indigenous people from becoming a minority in their own land.

The NRC figures very clearly show that names of a large number of foreigners have made their way into the draft, which will expedite the process of the indigenous people becoming a minority and the only way to avert this is the adoption of the above three steps. People of Assam have voted two governments to power in 2014 and 2016 on the basis of promises. In the next election votes should be sought by giving concrete results and not another set of promises, the PVM said.

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Safeguard of indigenous people doubtful, says PVM

GUWAHATI, Jan 3 - The decision taken by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is more like a statement of intent rather than a specific step to be taken to safeguard the indigenous people and save them from becoming a minority in the face of Bangladeshi aggression, said the Prabrajan Virodhi Manch (PVM).

PVM convenor and Supreme Court advocate Upamanyu Hazarika said at a press meet here today that it�s an irony that for Assam, the priority is migrants over the indigenous people. While the Citizenship Amendment Bill granting citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring countries was introduced two years after the BJP was elected, promises of safeguarding indigenous people are made with barely five months to go for the elections. These proposed measures are in-substantive, require parliamentary sanction and clearly cannot be fulfilled before the elections, he pointed out.

Coming before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, this appears to be yet another set of promises, when results are the need of the hour. The clarification by the Union Cabinet that land policy and related safeguards of jobs, trade licences, etc., will be by the State government demonstrates that effective safeguards like land, government employment and benefits, educational reservations are within the domain of the State government and State Legislature. In this regard, the State government has completely slept over for the last two and a half years, escaping and abdicating their responsibility and core election promise of protecting Jaati, Maati, Bheti, Hazarika said.

Meanwhile, the PVM has urged the State government to convene an urgent session of the State Assembly and pass a legislation similar to the one passed by the BJP-led Manipur Assembly reserving land, employment and other benefits for the indigenous communities and pre-1951 citizens of the state and their descendants.

�It did not require the Union Cabinet in the case of Manipur to give a clarification that the Manipur BJP government could have such a Bill passed by the Assembly. Now that the Central government has lent spine to the State leadership in Assam, they should seize the opportunity and pass the law,� Hazarika stated.

�This is intrinsic in Clause 6 of the Assam Accord which promises legal and constitutional safeguards to the Assamese people to give them superior rights over resources as a compensation of taking additional burden of 23 years of foreigners� influx, unlike the rest of India. The only clear indication from the Cabinet decision is that of seat reservation in the Legislative Assembly and local bodies. Without reservation of land, government employment benefits, etc., on 1951 basis, such seat reservation will be of no benefit as the elected indigenous representatives will only cater to and be dependent on the Bangladeshi voters, who form majority in many of these constituencies� the PVM convenor said further.

Meanwhile, the PVM has urged the government to take immediate steps to ensure reservation of land, government jobs., etc on the basis of 1951, re-verification of NRC, no further thrusting of foreigners through instruments like Citizenship Amendment Bill and to save the indigenous people from becoming a minority in their own land.

The NRC figures very clearly show that names of a large number of foreigners have made their way into the draft, which will expedite the process of the indigenous people becoming a minority and the only way to avert this is the adoption of the above three steps. People of Assam have voted two governments to power in 2014 and 2016 on the basis of promises. In the next election votes should be sought by giving concrete results and not another set of promises, the PVM said.

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