The student body accuses the State government and the Centre of betraying the people

The All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Monday dubbed the “White Paper on Foreigners Issue” published by the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress coalition government as “a white lie.”

In a 90-page booklet, the AASU accused both the State government and the Centre of “betraying the people” by not implementing the Assam Accord for 27 years. The accord was signed in 1985 to bring the curtains down on a six-year long anti-foreigners agitation spearheaded by the AASU.

The booklet contains an action plan for implementing the accord that was jointly formulated by the Centre and the Assam government on January 27, 1990 and signed by the then Assam Chief Secretary A.P. Sarwan and the then Union Home Secretary Shiromani Sharma, minutes of the tripartite talks between the AASU, the Assam government and the Centre and bipartite discussion between the student body and the State government.

AASU leaders Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya, Sankar Prasad Roy and Tapan Kumar Gogoi said some of these vital documents pertaining to the implementation of the accord and updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) were not included in the white paper, as it would have then “exposed the betrayal by the successive governments in the State and at the Centre.”

They pointed out that both the Centre and the State government had given their commitment, as was revealed by these documents, to implement various clauses of the Assam Accord, including detection and expulsion of undocumented migrants, sealing of the India-Bangladesh border and updating the NRC within a definite time frame. Similar commitments were made by the Centre and the State government at the tripartite meeting at the Prime Minister’s level on May 5, 2005. But not only were the old time frames not honoured, even renewed time frames and commitments made during the meeting were not been met.

They said it was decided to preserve and update the NRC at a tripartite meeting held on November 17, 1999. But the State government had mentioned in the white paper that it was hopeful that the updating work would be completed in three years. The Congress-led government was evidently delaying the NRC work with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, they alleged.