Amid stir, Bezbaruah refuses to head Assam Accord panel
The Assam Accord is a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and leaders of the Assam Movement.Updated: Jan 13, 2019 00:32 IST
In what could be termed a setback to the Centre, former bureaucrat M P Bezbaruah on Saturday pulled out of the nine-member panel set up by the Union home ministry on January 5 to suggest ways to implement Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord.
Bezbaruah is the fifth member to pull out of the committee, which will assess the quantum of seats to be reserved in the Assam assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people and chart out ways to preserve their identity and culture. The four members who walked out earlier were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill which, they claimed, posed a threat to Assamese culture and identity.
“The committee has become defunct after some people’s representatives have refused to be part of it,” Bezbaruah said, adding he had written to the home minister. “If there are no public representatives, then what is the point of the chairman? It is not a one-member committee,” he said.
“The Assamese people should decide whether they want the committee,” Bezbaruah said. “It is for the protection of the Assamese people and if people’s representatives are not there, then it is meaningless,” he said.
Nagen Saikia, a former president of the Asom Sahitya Sabha, and Rong Bong Terang, a former president of the Sahitya Sabha, were the first ones to walk out of the committee. They were followed by eminent literary figure Mukunda Rajbongshi and the All Assam Students Union (AASU).
Others on the panel include former IAS officer Subhash Das, former editor of The Sentinel Dhirendra Nath Bezboruah and advocate general of Assam Ramesh Borpatragohain. The joint secretary in home ministry was nominated as member secretary.
The Assam Accord is a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and leaders of the Assam Movement. The agreement was signed in New Delhi on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, to identify and deport illegal immigrants.
Clause 6 of the Accord seeks to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative measures to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguisidentity and heritage of Assam’s indigenous communities.
Meanwhile, protests continued against the Citizenship Amendment Bill as the North East Students Organisation (NESO), an umbrella organization of student bodies, observed black day against police action in Tripura and Manipur. Three persons, including a woman and a police officer, were injured in a clash between students, women vendors and the police at Khwairamban Bazaar in Manipur, during a mass rally against the Bill.