Other States

3 communities wary of Clause 6 in 1985 Assam Accord

The clause seeks to ascertain who fits into the definition of an Assamese.

Three major communities, perceived to be migrants in Assam, have expressed concern over the recommendations of the high-powered committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985.

These communities are the Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking Muslims referred to as Miyas, Bengali Hindus and Gurkhas.

 

Clause 6 envisages constitutional, legislative and administrative measures to safeguard, protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. It also seeks to ascertain who fits into the definition of an Assamese.

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On Wednesday, the Asom Miya Parishad said the Assamese people would not be safe if the Bengal-origin Muslims are excluded from the list of indigenous communities.

“More than 80% of us have been living in Assam for centuries and 24 MLAs of our community had in 1946 voted against Assam becoming a part of Pakistan post-Partition,” said M. Mahar Ali, general secretary of the Parishad.

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He also cautioned that the Assamese would become a minority if the Miyas are not regarded as indigenous. “Data say that the Assamese population in Assam was 34% in 1931 but became 62% in the census of 1951. This was because the Miyas had used Assamese as their mother tongue,” he said.

Gurkhas’ plea

The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP) too said Gurkhas in Assam should be recognised as indigenous community to ensure that their constitutional and land rights are protected.

“Since we don’t have a homeland in India, we must be recognised as indigenous across the country so that constitutional rights including land rights of Gurkhas are protected everywhere,” said Prakash Dahal, president of the BGP’s Assam unit.

The BGP also requested the Centre and the West Bengal government to bring an early resolution to the long-pending demand of Gorkhaland.

On Monday, the All Assam Bengali Youth Students’ Federation (AABYSF) objected to the purported suggestion of the Clause 6 panel to make 1951 as the base year for defining Assam’s “indigenous people.” The federation said Bengali Hindus, most of whom have been residing in Assam prior to the March 1971 (cut-off for detecting and deporting foreigners), deserved to be called indigenous.

“We don’t know what exactly is there in the report of the Clause 6 committee but reports suggested people who have been settled in Assam from before 1951 and their descendants will be viewed as indigenous people. If that is the case, the Bengalis in Assam will lose all rights as their migration to the State took place after 1951. They will be reduced to mere voters,” AABYSF founder president Sahadev Das said.

The All India United Democratic Front led by MP and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal and the All Assam Minority Students’ Union also said 1951 as base year would be “gross injustice” to a large section of Assam’s population.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:24:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/3-communities-wary-of-clause-6-in-1985-assam-accord/article30924840.ece

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