32 years after it was signed, separate office set up to implement Assam Accord
Thirty two years after it was signed to end an anti-alien agitation, a separate office has been set up to implement the Assam Accord.
The office for the Assam Accord implementation department was inaugurated by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who heads the state’s first Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, in Guwahati on Sunday.
The six-year-long agitation against illegal migrants from Bangladesh ended in 1985 after an accord was signed by the Centre, Assam government and All Assam Students Union, which had led the mass movement.
The agitation had claimed lives of 855 people, largely from the action by the police and paramilitary forces. Most parts of the Accord, which included fencing of the Indo-Bangladesh border, remain to be implemented.
The implementation department has been in existence since 1985, but successive governments have been accused of going slow on executing the clauses of the Accord.
Besides fencing the border, recommendations included ending illegal immigration, deporting foreigners and taking up the controversial exercise to update the National Register of Citizens.
“A separate office to implement the Accord would speed up the process that hasn’t seen much action. We hope all the provisions would get implemented soon,” the CM said.
Sunday also witnessed several functions across the state to mark Shahid Diwas in memory of those killed in the agitation.
Sonowal attended a programme at the house of Khargeswar Talukdar, the 22-year-old who was the agitation’s first victim, and promised to construct a stadium in his memory.
“Assam agitation was a unique people’s movement, which was democratic and non-violent. We plan to publish a book on the movement so that people across India and outside know about it,” said Sonowal.
The government’s efforts have been welcomed, but many feel a lot needs to be done to ensure the remaining clauses of the Accord are implemented.
“It’s fine to hold programmes, publish books, pay tributes and open offices. But the souls of the martyrs would find peace only when the Accord gets implemented,” said AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya.