GUWAHATI, June 6 � Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi today said his definition of the term �Assamese� assuaged the feelings of the Assamese people, including various indigenous communities who were at the risk of marginalisation due to large-scale cross-border illegal migration over the decades.
Speaking after being accorded a felicitation by the Indigenous Tribal Sahitya Sabha � a common platform of eight tribal communities, i.e., Bodo, Mising, Karbi, Dimasa, Rabha, Tiwa, Garo and Deuri � Gogoi said that while it was up to the government to accept or reject his definition which he did keeping in mind the genuine interests of the State�s people, the fact stood that it had the endorsement of a large number of ethnic tribes.
�Once I gave the report on the definition in the Assembly, it became a property of the august House. Maybe some government in the days to come will accept my definition, submit it to the Centre and implement it. I believe I acted in the best interests of the indigenous people. Moreover, this particular definition is not for all time to come, but was necessitated by the present-day situation and as required under the Assam Accord of 1985,� Gogoi said.
Gogoi also urged all the communities to shun aggressive sub-nationalism, saying that the belligerent Assamese nationalism espoused a few decades back had done great harm to the Assamese society. �We all are facing a crisis situation today and the need of the hour is to strengthen our unity and resist the forces inimical to the State�s interests,� he added.
Earlier, the Indigenous Tribal Sahitya Sabha, while lauding the Speaker�s �positive and strong step�, favoured two terms � Khilonjia Janagosthi and Khilonjia Asomiya (Indigenous tribals of Assam and Indigenous Assamese people) � for the purpose of providing constitutional safeguards for the State�s people as envisaged under the Assam Accord. It also said that those who came to Assam during 1951-1971 should be treated as bonafide Indian citizens, but should not be given constitutional safeguards.
�The conglomeration of the eight indigenous tribal sahitya sabhas held a special convention on May 10, 2015 and unanimously finalised the term indigenous tribals of Assam and indigenous Assamese people in place of the term �Assamese� mentioned in the Assam Accord of 1985 and �Indigenous Assamese people of Assam� proposed by 26 indigenous organisations headed by the AASU and by your honour (Speaker),� it said.
The Sabha further called for foolproof updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) within a timeframe as directed by the Supreme Court of India.