Within hours of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) making public a report by a central government-formed committee on implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on August 11 claimed that the Centre as well as the state government was giving due importance to the report.
Talking to reporters, Sonowal said, “It has been just five months since the report was submitted. During the period, we are fighting a pandemic. The entire world is fighting to stay alive.”
“It is not correct or fair to say that the Centre or the state government is not giving importance (to the report). One should doubt our sincerity. We are firm on our commitment to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people,” he added.
The AASU had earlier in the day made public the report of a ‘Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord’, which deals with ‘constitutional safeguards’ for the people of Assam, more than five months after it was submitted as repeated questioning to the government on the status of the report was met with silence.
The report of the committee, notified the central government on July 15 last year with Justice (retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma as chairman, was submitted to Assam CM Sonowal on February 25 this year.
Terming Indian citizens residing in Assam on or before January 1, 1951 as ‘Assamese people’ for the purpose of implementing Clause 6, reservation of seats in Parliament, Assembly and local bodies, introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP), reservation in government jobs, issues relating to land and land rights, linguistic, social and cultural rights, and protection of resources and biodiversity are some of the key recommendations in the report.
The committee, in the 141-page report, including annexure, has also advocated time bound full implementation of the Assam Accord, signed on August 15, 1985, to facilitate detection, deletion and deportation of foreigners from Assam; and prompt and adequate measures to seal the Indo-Bangladesh border in line of Indo-Pakistan border.