The Assamese people seem to have been betrayed in regards to the implementation of the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
On July 16, 2019 – the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government at the Centre had constituted a 14-member high-powered committee to lay down recommendations to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
The high-level committee on Assam Accord’s Clause 6, headed by Justice (retd) Biplab Sharma, had submitted its report to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on February 25, 2020.
Receiving report of the High Level committee for implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord in presence of fellow colleagues of Assam Council of Ministers in Guwahati as per direction of Hon'ble HM Shri @AmitShah ji. pic.twitter.com/4F1md2vaSL
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) February 25, 2020
However, it has been a year, but the BJP-led Assam Government and the NDA Government at the Centre collectively failed to implement the Clause 6 of Assam Accord.
Notably, top BJP leaders in Assam and the Centre including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and State Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had announced that they would “implement the Clause 6 in letter and spirit”.
In fact, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised that as soon as the high-powered panel submits its report, Clause 6 will be implemented in Assam.
“As soon as the report comes, it will be implemented in Assam,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said on April 5, 2019 when he was serving as the National President of the BJP.
— BJP (@BJP4India) April 5, 2019
This promise by Amit Shah came just days ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the country.
However, contrary to the earlier commitments by the top leaders of the BJP, which is the ruling party both at the Centre and in Assam, on February 17 this year, NEDA Convenor and Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Assam Government cannot implement the Clause 6 report.
Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that the Clause 6 report cannot be implemented because the recommendations of the high-powered committee were “far from legal reality”.
“Certain recommendations of the high-level committee are in contrary to the various verdicts pronounced by the Supreme Court,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
The BJP-led Assam Government made a sharp U-turn from its earlier commitments on implementation of the Clause 6 report in “letter and spirit”.
It may be mentioned here that the recommendations of the Clause 6 committee can be implemented by mere constitutional and legislative amendments, in which the BJP-led Governments both at the Centre and the State, very good at.
The committee in its report stated: “The committee is of the opinion that to give full effect to its Recommendations, as stated herein below, several Constitutional and legislative amendments will be necessitated. The existing Article 371-B in the Constitution of India will need to be amended.”
Noteworthy is that if Article 370 of the Constitution of India can be scrapped by the BJP, to what it said was to “safeguard the interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”, then why it cannot go for a few constitutional and legislative amendments to “safeguard the interests” of Assam?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been very ‘vocal’ about safeguarding the interests of Assamese people.
Why can’t the BJP Government make a few amendments to ensure implementation of the Clause 6 and settle the matter once and for all?
Or, is the BJP trying to ‘fool’ the people of Assam by citing ‘solvable’ problems like “legal reality”?
It seems so, especially with the Centre’s plan of implementing Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) soon after COVID-19 vaccination is completed.
Noted columnist Talmizur Rahman had on January 19, much before Himanta Biswa Sarma’s remarks, stated: “New Delhi’s apparent motive clearly appears to be to make the Hindu Bangladeshis a majority or near majority in the state, which would be clearly foiled if the recommendations made in the report are to be accepted.”
Rahman added: “If the constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards as recommended by the committee are to be accepted, the indigenous people will always enjoy an advantage over the Centre’s blue-eyed people like the Hindu Bangladeshis that have entered the state till the end of 2014 (potential vote bank).”
Also read: Making a joke of Clause 6 of Assam Accord
As it appears now, the BJP Governments both in Assam and at the Centre seem to be ready to ‘betray’ the Assamese people and make their ‘brainchild’ CAA see the light of the day.
The BJP in its vision document published ahead of the 2016 Assam Assembly elections had said that it would “implement the Assam Accord in its letter and spirit”.
In the same vision document the saffron party further stated that it would provide “constitutional, legislative, social and cultural safeguard as per the Clause 6 of Assam Accord”.
But the BJP seems to be on the path of ‘betraying’ the people of Assam completely by denying them of their rights to fulfil their ‘Hindutva’ agenda with the implementation of CAA and make illegal Hindu Bangladeshis legal citizens of India, possibly for vote bank politics.
The BJP has been maintaining complete silence in regards to implementation of CAA during their election campaigning in Assam, fearing backlash and adverse impact in their poll prospects.
With the Assam Assembly elections knocking at the door, the BJP in all likelihood would be going all out yet again, making vague promises on implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord and staying silent on their ‘dangerous’ CAA implementation plans, at least till the elections in the state are over.