A group of Assam MLAs met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday to push for steps towards protection of Assamese language and the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, while informing him about their experience of the violence last week.
“On CAA, we will accept whatever the court says. Assamese people are scared today due to the spread of misinformation. So we urged the CM to take powerful steps towards the protection of our community by implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, for which a high-level committee is already working. And the cabinet should pass a resolution that Assamese language will remain as the state language of Assam and that there will never be a threat towards Assamese language,” Padma Hazarika, BJP MLA from Sootea constituency, told reporters after the meeting.
He added, “If people of my constituency unitedly say that Padma Hazarika should resign, I will immediately resign… On December 6, I have myself got 500 houses of suspected illegal Bangladeshis evicted on my own initiative and chased them away — is that an anti-community work I have done?”
Hazarika described the violence that had unfolded on a particular BJP office in the state. He said that at one location, the saffron party’s office was attacked with “miscreants” taking down the party’s flag and entering the office to attack women. “I urge the CM to make it clear your opinion. Come and speak to the point. Assure the Assamese people that how you can protect the community — and we MLAs are with you.”
BJP’s Prasanta Phukan, the Dibrugarh MLA whose house was attacked during last week’s violence in the state, told reporters, “We have urged the CM to take steps to dispel the fears that are in the minds of the Assamese people. Even we are scared today. Hiding for eight days at our houses, we have come today… Youths, of the age of my grandchildren, shouted lewd abuses at me — it pains me.”
Later, speaking to The Indian Express, Phukan said, “We have urged the CM to speak to Delhi and immediately take all necessary steps to protect our identity and our language. I can replace the broken glasses of my house and car but what pains me is the way youngsters abused me during the protests. The non-violent movement is fine, but people with malafide intention entered the protests and burnt tyres and caused violence.”
Phukan added, “If you talk from a vote angle, I will say there has been some ‘minus’, some loss. Say a 40-45 per cent loss due to the agitation — not the votes of the other linguistic communities but a considerable loss of the the votes of the Assamese-speaking population. I will try my best to recover it.”
Clause 6 of Assam Accord promises “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards… to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”.
Sonowal had earlier described Clause 6 as the “the soul of the Assam Accord” and said his government would be implementing the provisions very soon. A high-level committee led by Justice (retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma is preparing a report to recommend suggestion for its implementation.
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