Protest against CAA by artist fraternity of Assam in Guwahati on Sunday. Image credit: Sakaltimes.com
Protest against CAA by artist fraternity of Assam in Guwahati. (File image)

In what seems to be an attempt to pacify the growing anti-CAA sentiments in the state, the Assam government on Saturday announced a slew of schemes.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) seeks to grant citizenships to non-Muslim minorities persecuted from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan persecuted on religious grounds.

In Assam, the protesters feel that if the illegal Bengali Hindus from Bangladesh get Indian citizenship through CAA then it will threaten the Assamese language and tradition.

In a bid to “nullify” the “threat”, the Assam government on Saturday announced that Assamese will be made a compulsory subject up to Class X in schools of every medium.

“In the next Assembly session, we will introduce legislation making it mandatory that the Assamese language should be taught as a compulsory subject in all English and other medium schools,” stated an official release

“However, this law will not apply for Hill districts, BTAD, Bodo dominated areas and Barak Valley,” the release added.

“All Indian states were originally reorganized on the basis of language. Subsequently, due to migration, the number of people speaking the language of a state may vary,” the release added.

“Cabinet resolves that Government of India may by amending Article 345 of the Constitution declare Assamese as the State language of Assam”.

“However, Barak Valley, BTAD area and Hill districts have been excluded from it,” the notification added.

In another move to appease the various ethnic communities, including the Tea Tribe community, the government further announced a number of schemes for their “benefits”.

“The cabinet also resolved that all Tribal Autonomous Councils- Mising, Rabha, Sonowal Kachari, Thengal Kachari, Deori, Tiwa- may be granted Constitutional status,” the release added.

“This has been done so that they can receive funds from both Central and state government including other rights and privileges,” it added.

“A new autonomous council for Koch Rajbongshi community (Kamatapur Autonomous Council) residing in original Goalpara district excluding BTAD and Rabha Hasong area will be constituted,” the notification added.

“Similarly, two new Autonomous Councils, for Moran and Matak communities will be created,” it stated further.

The government also decided to declare the birthday of Sati Sadhini on 7th Bohag as a state holiday and Sati Sadhini Rajyik Vishwavidyalaya will also be set up in Golaghat.

The government also announced two new medical colleges in Biswanath and undivided Sivasagar district.

It was also decided by the government to up-grade Bajali sub-division into a district.

“A Rs 500 crore special package announced in the budget for Moran, Mattak, Chutiya and Ahom communities will be divided equally among them and each community will get Rs 125 crore,” the notification added.

“In addition, Tai Ahom Development Council, Chutiya Development Council and Koch Rajbongshi Development Councils will be restructured with substantial budget allocations,” it further stated.

The government also announced that medical, engineering, agriculture and veterinary science and PG seats in general universities will be specifically reserved for Tai Ahom, Koch Rajbongshi and Chutiya communities.

“The cabinet also resolved that Bodo Peace Accord will be concluded expeditiously and a request will be made to the Indian government in this regard,” the notification added.

It was also decided that the allocation for Tea Tribe Welfare Department will be increased substantially and more development programmes will be taken up.

“For higher education of the tea tribe community, seats will be reserved for tea tribe students in general colleges,” the notification added.

It was also decided that the process for starting 100 new high schools in tea garden areas will be taken up in the next three months.

“The wages of labourers of Assam Tea Corporation will be increased from Rs 138 per day to Rs 167 per day from January 1, 2020,” the notification added.

The cabinet also resolved to introduce a bill in next Assembly session for protection of land rights of indigenous people of Assam.

It was also decided to introduce the Assam Heritage Preservation Bill in the next Assembly session.

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