MHA-appointed committee on Assam recommends 1951 as cut-off year to define indigenous people, ILP
The committee has also suggested two formulas for reservation of seats for indigenous people in the Assam Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, including 67 per cent quota for them.
GUWAHATI: The high-level committee, constituted by the Centre for the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, has suggested that 1951 be made the base year for defining the indigenous people of Assam. The committee, headed by retired Gauhati High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma, also suggested the introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Assam to restrict the movement of “outsiders” to the state and reservation of Assembly as well as Lok Sabha seats for indigenous people.
While 10 members of the 13-member committee suggested 67% quota for indigenous people and an additional 16% for SC and ST communities, the remaining three members suggested it should be 100% for indigenous people inclusive of SC and ST communities. The ILP is a travel document enforced in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. A non-native is required to carry it while s/he is travelling to any of these states. It permits stay only for a limited period.
A definition on who are indigenous people was required as Clause 6 of the Assam Accord 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 accord was signed between the Rajiv Gandhi government and All Assam Students’ Union in 1985. If the suggestion to make 1951 as the base year is accepted by the Centre, people, irrespective of community, who were residents of Assam before that year and their descendants will be viewed as the state’s indigenous people.