NEW DELHI: The Centre has constituted a nine-member committee to ensure implementation of Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord that will assess the quantum of seats to be reserved in the state Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people, besides providing other safeguards.
The committee was set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that his government is going forward with the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On Sunday, the MHA announced that the panel will be headed by former Union tourism secretary M P Bezbaruah. The other members are former IAS officer Subhash Das, former presidents of the Assam Sahitya Sabha Nagen Saikia and Rongbong Terang, former editor of The Sentinel Dhiren Bezbaruah, educationalist Mukunda Rajbangshi, advocate general of Assam Ramesh Borpatragohain and a representative of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which is a signatory to the Accord.
“The committee will assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people. It will recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the government of Assam for the Assamese people,” the ministry notification read.
The committee will submit its report within six months.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal welcomed the constitution of the panel. “It is a very significant decision which has come 35 years after the Assam Accord was signed,” he said.
But Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharjya, chief advisor of AASU, said the decision was just an attempt to cover up the amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955.