GUWAHATI: The AASU on Sunday alleged that senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma lied in the floor of the Assembly by claiming that the Assam Accord did not say anything about March 24, 1971 as the deadline to detect and deport illegal immigrants.
All Assam Students' Union Chief Adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya demanded that Sarma and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal apologise to the people for providing "wrong explanation" about the Accord at the one-day Special Session of the Assembly on January 13.
A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979.
It had culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
"Sarma lied in the House by saying that there is no mention of March 24, 1971 deadline to detect and deport illegal immigrants from Assam. However, it is clearly written in Clause 5.
He gave a wrong explanation of the Accord.
"We demand that a special session of the Assembly be called and Sarbananda Sonowal, Himanta Biswa Sarma and the Assam government must apologise to the people of Assam," the AASU leader told reporters.
On January 13, Sarma had said in the Assembly that the amended Citizenship Act does not violate the Assam Accord, but is aimed to address the "unresolved" issues of the pact.
"The Assam Accord didn't speak about children of those coming before 1971, so it's inconclusive," he had added.
Reading out the Clauses 5.1 to 5.7 of the Accord, the BJP Minister had said, "The Assam Accord is not that bad. If we had read it properly, 1966 would have been the cut off year and 1967 voter list would have been the NRC. I regret that."
However, Sarma did not mention Clause 5.8 which says, "Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law.
"Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners."
Addressing a press conference here, the AASU leader said the BJP, Congress and the AGP did not implement the Assam Accord despite being in power for a number of times.
"Since 1985, mostly the Congress-ruled the state. While the BJP is in power for one term, its ally AGP was elected twice. Still, the Accord was not implemented.
Himanta Biswa Sarma is now finding fault in it, but he was the Assam Accord Implementation Minister during the Congress' tenure," he said.
Bhattacharya also pointed out the current BJP government had categorically stated in its Vision Document that the Assam Accord would be implemented in letter and spirit.
"Now, only to gain a few Bangladeshi votes, they have brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. We will not accept that," he added.
The amended Act says, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The Act has triggered widespread protests in Assam with a large section of people and organisations opposing it, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.