After the untimely death of senior AGP leader Biraj Kumar Sarma, former two-time Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has become the lone surviving signatory of the historical Assam Accord now and it is to be seen as to how the historical Accord is implemented.
The death of Sarma came at a time when the State is not only witnessing a surge of emotions against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 but also some kind of uncertainty hovering over the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) constituted high-powered committee to implement the Clause 6 of Assam Accord.
Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Bhrigu Kumar Phukan and Biraj Kumar Sarma signed the historical Accord in presence of the then Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi. The Government of India was represented by the then Home Secretary RD Pradhan while the Assam Government was represented by the then Assam Chief Secretary PP Trivedi.
While Sarma died on Tuesday, Bhrigu Kumar Phukan died on March 20, 2006 at a hospital in New Delhi while battling his illness. Rajiv Gandhi, who was witness of the signing of the Accord, was assassinated on May 21, 1991.
It may be mentioned here that the BJP-led Government at the Centre has recently constituted a high-powered committee to implement the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which suggested that the Government has to enact constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Although the Central Government has constituted the committee to implement the Clause 6, four of the nine members of the committee have already declined to be a part of the committee forcing the Chairman of the committee, MP Bezbaruah to write to the Centre saying that his position in the committee has become redundant.
While litterateur and former presidents of Asom Sahitya Sabha Dr. Nagen Saikia and Rongbong Terang have declined to be part of the committee, well-known academician Dr. Mukunda Rajbongshi has expressed his reluctance to be the part of the committee.
The MHA had also nominated one member of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) to be part of the committee, to which the students’ body also declined until the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is scrapped.