Govt panel to safeguard rights of ethnic Assamese2 min read . Updated: 06 Jan 2019, 11:12 PM IST
Panel will have 9 members from Assam and Union home ministry and will submit its report within six months to centre
New Delhi: Just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the people of Assam of safeguarding their interests, in a rally in Silchar on Friday, the Union Home Ministry has set up a high powered committee to look into the successful implementation of the Assam Accord.
With just three months to go for the Lok Sabha polls, and with no set date on the announcement of the final release of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Centre is now trying to calm a state where nearly 40.07 lakh people are staring at possible disenfranchisement.
The Union cabinet on Wednesday announced the formation of a high-level committee for safeguarding the interests of ethnic Assamese. This comes in the wake of the closure on 31 December of the process for claims and objections with regard to the NRC ahead of its final draft later this year.
The committee, the Centre announced on Sunday, will be headed by retired IAS officer M.P Bezbaruah along with eight other members from Assam and the Union home ministry.
The panel will submit its report within the six months to the Centre.
“The Committee will examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The Committee will hold discussions with various stakeholders including social organizations, legal and constitutional experts, eminent persons from the field of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists. The Committee will assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people," the home ministry said in a statement, on Sunday.
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord envisages that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the ethnic Assamese. The committee will look at how effectively the Accord was implemented and if not, then why it was not implemented, Union home Minister Rajnath Singh informed on Wednesday.
“The Committee will recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the Government of Assam for the Assamese people. The Committee may suggest any other measures as may be necessary to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people," the ministry statement added.
Facing stiff resistance from its ally in the state, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, which will provide legitimate citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh, the Centre has been trying to extend an olive branch to not just the AGP, but the people of Assam as well, ahead of this year’s elections.
“The committee will gauge the effectiveness of the Accord and suggest measures needed to protect the Assamese language. It will assess the measures needed for safeguarding the ethnic Assamese, the extent of employment reservation quantum and so on. The terms and conditions of the committee will soon be decided by the Union home ministry," Singh added.