Panel’s suggestion on who in Assam are ‘indigenous’ meets with opposition

The All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation fears if the indigenous people of Assam are defined based on the 1951 cut-off, many Bengali Hindus will suffer.

Published: 24th February 2020 04:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2020 04:24 PM   |  A+A-

Assam NRC

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The suggestion of the Centre-constituted high-level committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord to make 1951 as the base year for defining Assam’s “indigenous people” has met with opposition.

After minority-based party, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU), the All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation (AABYSF) now raised an objection.

The AABYSF fears if the indigenous people of Assam are defined based on the 1951 cut-off, many Bengali Hindus will suffer.

“We don’t know what exactly is there in the report of the Clause 6 committee. Media reports suggested people who have been settled in Assam from before 1951 and their descendants will be viewed as indigenous people. If that is the case, the Bengalis in the state will lose all rights as their migration to the state took place after 1951. They will be reduced to mere voters. This will be an injustice to them,” AABYSF founder president Sahadev Das said.

He said according to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, people who migrated to Assam before March 24, 1971, are Indian citizens. The NRC of 1951 was also updated based on the March 24, 1971, cutoff, he pointed out.

“There is no clarity in the report. We want the committee to invite us and convince. As there was not a single representative from the Bengali community in the committee, we had urged Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to look into the aspect but it was not heeded to,” Das lamented.

Earlier, AIUDF and AAMSU were critical of Clause 6 panel’s suggestion.

AIUDF spokesman Aminul Islam had wondered about the fate of people, who entered Assam between 1951 and 1971 and are enjoying benefits and privileges as citizens of the country.

Advisor to AAMSU, Azizur Rahman, thought the panel’s suggestion on the 1951 base year to determine the state’s indigenous people would further complicate the issue of immigrants.

The panel will submit its report to the CM on Tuesday. Subsequently, it will be forwarded to the Central government.

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