Eminent litterateurs of the State Dr. Nagen Saikia and Rong Bong Terang have refused to be a part of the high-level committee instituted by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre to implement the Clause 6 of Assam Accord.
Senior journalist and former Editor, Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah as well as All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) have refused to be part of the committee.
The development took place after the State witnessed series of protests in different parts against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
“The high-level committee to implement the Clause 6 of Assam Accord is Cabinet-constituted committee and not a bill. So, once the Government changes in the Centre, the recommendations of the committee will not mean anything,” said Dr Saikia.
“Earlier, I thought I will participate in the committee and give some recommendations for protection of indigenous people. However, later I thought about the life and tenure of the committee and found that both are uncertain. By keeping this committee in front, the Government wants the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to be passed,” said Dr Saikia disclosing his decision not to be a part of the committee.
Similarly, Rong Bong Terang has also refused to be a part of the committee. Saikia and Terang were both former presidents of the Asom Sahitya Sabha.
Senior journalist Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah has informed the Government of his inability to become a part of the committee. “I thank the Government for appointing me as member, but it will be better if the Government leaves me out for I am getting old and trying to reduce my engagements,” Bezbaruah said.
The Committee also nominated one member of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) as its member. The students’ body, which has been opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, has, however, refused to be part of the committee until the constitutional amendment bill is scrapped.
Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had requested the AASU to be a part of the committee.
It may be mentioned here that the Clause 6 of Assam Accord provides for constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had recently constituted the high-level committee with retired IAS officer of Assam cadre MP Bezbaruah as the chairman to ensure implementation of the Clause 6 of the historical Assam Accord.