Former bureaucrat MP Bezbaruah has refused to head the nine-member panel constituted by the Union Home Ministry to suggest ways to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bezbaruah said the committee is “non-functional and de-facto defunct”.
MP Bezbaruah to @IndianExpress : I have informed about my decision to @HMOIndia after several members of the committee opted out. The committee is non-functional and de facto defunct and my position as chair is untenable.
— rahul tripathi (@rahultripathi) January 12, 2019
“I have informed about my decision to the home minister after several members of the committee opted out. The committee is non-functional and de facto defunct and my position as chair is untenable,” he said.
The Union Cabinet, earlier this month, cleared a proposal to set up a high-level committee to look into the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had then said clause 6 “wasn’t fully implemented”. The government’s decision to form a committee for its implementation came at a time when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated and the Centre is trying to introduce a contentious Bill on citizenship.
Protesting the citizenship bill, at least three chosen individuals walked out of the committee after the powerful All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) said it would not send a representative.
According to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, “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.” For recognition as citizens, the Accord sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff.