Abdul Khaleque. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

“1971, scientifically is more favourable as the cut-off year for defining and identifying indigenous people of Assam,” said Congress MP from Barpeta constituency Abdul Khaleque on Saturday.

He was reacting to the recommendation of the high-level committee constituted for Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which recommended 1951 as the cut-off year.

Interacting with the media, Khaleque said that communities were redistributed and borders were redrawn as a number of states were carved out of Assam even after 1951.

“Hence, considering 1971 as the base year to define indigenous people of Assam is more scientific,” Khaleque said.

“Since the ancient times till now, the political geography of Assam has been changing constantly,” Khaleque said.

“The state has been ruled by different rulers and administered by various administrators. If we have to define someone as indigenous then considering 1971 as the base year is more logical and scientific,” Khaleque reiterated.

“If we are to follow the definition of indigenous as mentioned at the Cambridge dictionary and by the UN, then only the tribal communities, the Kochs and Kalitas of Assam can claim to be indigenous,’ Khaleque further said.

“If we follow the aforementioned definitions, then identifying the indigenous community of Assam gets even more confusing,” Khaleque said.

“Considering all the possibilities, 1971 seems like the most favourable year as the cut-off year,” Khaleque reiterated.

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