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Citizenship amendment Bill: AASU to stay off Centre-appointed panel, protests continue in Assam

Clause 6 of Accord says, “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.”

Written by Abhishek Saha | Guwahati |
Updated: January 8, 2019 4:07:26 am
All Assam Students’ Union activists protest against the Citizenship Bill in Guwahati, Monday. (PTI)

The All Assam Students Union (AASU) will not be sending a member to be part of the panel notified by the Centre to work towards implementation of Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord. Clause 6 of the Accord says, “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 committee notified by the MHA Sunday is headed by retired IAS officer M P Bezbarauah. It also includes an MHA joint secretary and has one position for an AASU representative. But AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya told The Indian Express that it was “meaningless” to send a representative because the BJP government “is violating Clause 5 of Assam Accord” by bringing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. “They will dump illegal Bangladeshis by violating Clause 5, and they announce implementation of Clause 6. Protect Clause 5 first.”

Monday saw intellectuals and activists take to the streets of Guwahati to protest against the Bill. “We have tried all sorts of peaceful protests, yet no one heard us. The only thing left for us to do is to carve out a sovereign Assam. We have to fight for that,” said activist and advisor to Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti Akhil Gogoi.

assam bandh, north east bandh, citizenship bill, citizenship amendment bill, citizenship amendment bill 2016, bill tabled in parliament, bill approved by cabinet, cabinet approves citizenship bill, protest against centre, agp exit from assam govt, agp breaks ties with bjp, assam news, northeast news, indian express The committee notified by the MHA Sunday is headed by retired IAS officer M P Bezbarauah and also includes an MHA joint secretary and has one position for an AASU representative.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told a gathering in Tinsukia, “The high-level committee constituted by the Central Government for safeguarding the cultural and linguistic identity of indigenous people of Assam through Clause 6 of Assam Accord is a golden opportunity for the state and AASU must play an active role in the committee.”

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