Students’ body in Assam demands constitutional safeguards for locals ahead of final NRC draft

AASU Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the students’ body would not allow the Accord’s provisions to be diluted or violated.

Published: 17th July 2019 10:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2019 10:21 PM   |  A+A-

Activists of All Assam Students Union and other organisations at a torch light rally in Guwahati

Activists of All Assam Students Union and other organisations at a torch light rally in Guwahati (File photo| PTI)

Express News Service

KAZIRANGA: As Assam braces to publish the final draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 31, the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) insisted on constitutional safeguards for the state’s indigenous communities.

The assertion by the students’ body, which spearheaded a six-year-long bloody anti-immigrants’ agitation in early 1980s, came a day after the Centre reconstituted a high-level committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

The Accord, signed between the AASU and the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the end of the movement of 1985, says “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”

The NRC is being updated in deference to the Accord which says the immigrants, who migrated to Assam after March 24, 1971, will be detected and deported.

AASU Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said the students’ body would not allow the Accord’s provisions to be diluted or violated. He is among the 12 members in the new Clause 6 committee which is headed by retired Gauhati High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma. The committee has been asked to submit its report within six months.

The Centre had constituted a committee earlier but it met an early death as its chairman MP Bezbaruah, who is a retired bureaucrat, and several other members refused to be part of it as a mark of protest against the Centre’s move to get the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed in Parliament. 

“Ahead of submitting our report, we will discuss the issue with Assam Sahitya Sabha and other indigenous organisations and take their views,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.

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