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Assam Govt To Find Legal Definition Of ‘Assamese’: CM Himanta

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GUWAHATI, March 30 (PTI): Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said the state government was looking to find the “legal definition” of Assamese in order to be able to fully implement the Assam Accord.

Sarma said that the bone of contention had been Clause-6 of the historic pact as it spoke about protection of Assamese people, but never defined legally who they were.

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Clause-6 of the accord states that constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people.

“We want a legal definition of Assamese in the context of the Assam Accord, especially Clause-6. Emotionally, all those who had been living in Assam for a long time, say 2-3 generations, are Assamese people. We cannot call them non-Assamese,” Sarma told the Assembly.

He said the government would try to solve the issue through discussions in a committee, headed by Implementation of Assam Accord minister Atul Bora.

“Our government has solved many problems. We hope to find a definition of Assamese people and solve this issue too,” Sarma stated.

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The Assam Accord was signed in 1985 after a six-year-long violent anti-foreigner movement. It stated, among other clauses, that all foreigners coming to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 would be detected, their names deleted from electoral rolls and steps would be taken to deport them.

Series of committees have been formed since 1985 by successive governments promising to implement the historic pact in letter and spirit.

Raising the issue during the Question Hour, All India United Democratic Front MLA Aminul Islam sought to know the reason for not finalising a definition all these years.

Asom Gana Parishad’s Ramendra Narayan Kalita pointed out that former Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi had taken an initiative to come up with a definition, and had prepared a report after consulting various social groups and political parties.

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“The Assam government can consider Gogoi’s report for this purpose,” he added.

Islam had earlier asked in the House if enacting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) would violate the Clause 5 of the Assam Accord, which the state government promised to implement accurately.

Evading a direct reply, Bora said the CAA was not under the state government’s purview and that it was an act brought in by the Centre.

He, however, clarified that there was “no mention of giving citizenship to anyone on the basis of religion in the Assam Accord”.

Clause-5 of the Accord talks about detection, deletion (from electoral rolls) and deportation of illegal foreigners coming to Assam on or after March 24, 1971.

CAA, passed in Parliament in December 2019, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.


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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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