The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), whose top leaders were members of the Centre’s high-level committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, released the confidential report stating that the public has the right to know the details. Top AASU leaders released the report at a press conference in Guwahati on Tuesday.
The AASU argued that it has been forced to make the report public as the government was allegedly sitting idle on it. None of the other members of the 14-member committee except advocate Niloy Dutta attended the news conference.
Meanwhile, chairman of the now dissolved High Level Committee Justice (Retd) Biplab Sarma said it was the AASU’s decision to release the report and pointed out that the Committee had given 2 years time to the government for implementation of its recommendations.
Addressing media persons in Guwahati, top AASU leaders sought a clarification on the status of the Clause 6 report recommendations for implementation, which was submitted back in February.
AASU president Dipanka Nath, general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi and Chief Advisor, Samujjal Bhattacharya briefed the media on the issue. Besides, senior advocate Niloy Dutta also joined the presser via video conference. All four are members of the Clause 6 Committee.
Significantly, none of the remaining 10 members of the Committee, including Chairman Justice (Retd) Biplab Sarma attended the press meet whether in person or virtually.
The 141 page report, which has now come into the public domain, has recommended 1st January 1951 as the cut off date to define Assamese people as mentioned in the Assam Accord.
As per the definition worked out by the Committee, members of the Assamese community including Assamese Muslims, all indigenous tribal communities, other indigenous communities, and all citizens of the country and their descendants residing in Assam on or before 1/1/1951 would come to be regarded as Assamese people. To be precise, the term Assamese People shall be construed as any citizen of India who is a part of:
- Assamese community, residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1.1.1951 or
- Any indigenous tribal community of Assam residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 1.1.1951, or
- Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1.1.1951, or,
- All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before 1.11951, and
- Descendants of the above categories
Besides the report also recommended a host of other steps like implementation of Inner Line Permit in the state, an upper house in the state, at least 80% reservation for Assamese people in state Assembly and local bodies, separate board for preservation of Namghars and Xatras, land rights for Assamese people, besides sealing the porous border with Bangladesh among others.
The top AASU leaders, sought to know, where was the Clause 6 report and whether the Centre was working towards its implementation. They added that secrecy of the report has already been compromised with the details coming out in parts in the media.
The high level committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, headed by Justice (Retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma, had submitted its report to Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on February 25.
Speaking to Northeast Live, Committee chairman, Justice (Retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma said the panel had given two years time to the Centre to implement the recommendations and it has been just 5 months now.
Justice (Retd) Sarma added that while he had nothing much to say on the AASU’s decision to make a sealed report public, the situation could have been handled better.
While it is clear that there is still ample time for the Centre to work on the recommendations of the High Level Committee on Clause 6, the AASU’s bid to try and corner the government on the issue is certain to evoke some response.