Assam panel submits Clause 6 report to top bureaucrat

Assam panel submits Clause 6 report to top bureaucrat

GUWAHATI | FEB 20, 2020:

The committee formed by the Home Ministry to recommend norms in Clause 6 of the Assam Accord submitted its report to state chief secretary Sanjay Krishna on Wednesday, after failing to get an appointment from the Home Ministry. Some members opposed submission of report to the state government.

This clause of the Assam Accord, signed in 1985 after massive protests against illegal immigrants, aims at ensuring special constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people of Assam.

Panel chairman BK Sharma, former judge of the Gauhati High Court, told media that they had written three letters to the MHA stating that the report was ready and requested to let them know when it would like to receive it.

He said that "We have done our work and the report is available with Assam Accord implementation department." MHA had reconstituted the panel last year, making joint secretary Satyendra Garg as its member secretary.

While talking to Economics Times, MHA officials said there was no consensus on some recommendations. The state government will be responsible for implementing the suggestions. It will examine the report and forward it with comments to MHA, he said.

MHA officials expressed reservations, among others, on the recommendation to bring the entire state under the Inner Line Permit. Panel members alleged that MHA did not give them an appointment to submit the report.

The Committee members said they were not happy with a "leak" of the key recommendation to the media in Delhi, such as implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Assam, before the report was officially given to the Home Ministry.

One of the Committee member said that the 14-member committee the Centre had constituted to suggest ways to implement Clause 6 completed work on February 10 and sent three letters to the MHA.

Another panel member said that committee members made several attempts to get an appointment with MHA to submit the report but despite camping in New Delhi, they were not given an appointment.

Aasu stated that Clause 6 was incorporated in the Assam Accord as a means of protecting the indigenous culture as Assam took "extra load of foreign migrants" from 1951 to 1971. The 1985 Assam Accord states that foreigners who arrived in the state after March 24, 1971, would be deported irrespective of their religious affiliation.

In Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last visit to Assam, he promised that once the report is ready, the government would fast-track the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

The promise of quick implementation of the panel's recommendations was seen as a way for the BJP to gain lost ground after being corner d over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that speeds up the process of giving citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities from three neighbouring countries.

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