The Government has notified a high-level committee that is expected to look into the implementation of a clause of Assam Accord that seeks to provide safeguards to preserve and promote social, cultural and linguistic identity of Assamese people.
The committee, headed by retired Gauhati High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma, will also make recommendations on reservation for Assamese people in the Assembly, and other local bodies.
It will also look into the need for reservation in government jobs for Assamese people, besides recommending measures required to preserve culture and identity of the local people.
Intended as part of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, the committee was notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday. The committee was first notified in January, but its members did not join in protest against the citizenship amendment Bill.
Retired IAS officer M P Bezbaruah was to head the panel.
Clause 6 of the Accord states: “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 MHA’s notification, signed by Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg, has given six months to the committee to come up with its recommendations. It would be supported by the Northeast division of the MHA and the Assam government, the ministry stated.
Some other terms of reference of the committee, according to the notification, are to examine effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6; to hold discussions with various stakeholders, including social organisations, legal and constitutional experts, eminent persons from the field of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists; to suggest measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.
According to the MHA notification, the committee may also suggest any other measures as may be necessary to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Notably, All-Assam Students Union, among signatories of the accord, is also demanding rights over land and natural resources for the Assamese people.
Members of the committee include Assam’s A-G Ramesh Borpatragohain, Arunachal Pradesh’s A-G Niloy Dutta, retired IAS officer Subhash Das, retired IPS Pallav Bhattacharya, academics Srishtidhar Dutta and Jaikanta Sharma, author Sumanta Chaliha, and journalist Wasbir Hussain.