Leaders of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), one of the signatories of the 1985 Assam Accord, skipped a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday.
Four members of a high-level committee for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which provides for constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people met Mr. Shah in Delhi.
The 14-member panel headed by retired Gauhati High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma, also tasked with finding out who is an ‘Assamese’, is expected to submit its report by January 15.
The AASU leaders — chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya, president Dipanka K. Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi — decided to stay away.
“It is the government’s bounden duty to implement Clause 6, but it is virtually being bartered to offset the anger in Assam against the unconstitutional CAA. Implementing this vital clause of the Assam Accord will not be proper if the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is also in force,” Mr. Nath said.
The committee is also expected to recommend reserving Assembly seats for the indigenous communities of Assam.
“We have apprised the Home Minister of the progress of our work. He has given a few suggestions. We hope to submit our final report within the next 15 days,” Mr. Sharma told presspersons.
Asked whether the panel could finalise the “definition of Assamese”, the retired judge said the members were yet to take a decision on it and hope to come to a conclusion soon.
“All members of the committee will soon meet to finalise the report and all remaining issues will be resolved,” he said. The meeting took place four days after Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met Mr. Shah and discussed with him various aspects of Clause 6, under which the Central government had promised to provide constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people.