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Clause 6: Assam Assembly has to Ratify the Definition of an Assamese, Says Himanta Biswa Sarma

File Photo of Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

File Photo of Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The Centre has no role to play at present but has already taken the preliminary step of setting up the Delimitation Commission, Sarma told newsmen here.

Assam assembly has to ratify the definition of an Assamese and only then can the Centre implement the recommendations of the committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord Report, state's minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.

The Centre has no role to play at present but has already taken the preliminary step of setting up the Delimitation Commission, Sarma told newsmen here.

"The Clause 6 Committee in its report has clearly stated that the recommendations must be implemented within two

years but All Assam Students' Union (AASU) which made the report public yesterday did not mention this", Sarma said.

Besides, the Committee itself has suggested the setting up of a three-member Committee, preferably headed by a

retired Supreme Court judge as the report involves "complex recommendations involving interpretation of the Constitution", the minister, who is a senior BJP leader of the north east, said.

The Committee is silent or ambivalent on several issue like whether another National Register of Citizens is required and has suggested that documents should be the basis of deciding on who is an Assamese. But this may lead to people submitting false documents, he pointed out.

"We are on the right track and are committed to implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The next step now

is for the assembly to ratify the definition of an Assamese," he said.

The current assembly is in the fag end of its term, he said adding "We are not sure that we are competent to decide

on the definition as we now have only a six-month mandate".

"It will be better for the new assembly to ratify it. But as the house reflects the aspirations of the public and if they want that it should be ratified, the present assembly members can go ahead with it," Sarma said.

The report was released by AASU, which, he said, "is no longer a non-political platform as it is playing politics

or is about to become a political party".

"We have moved very carefully during the last five months without any controversy. We urge others not to create any and allow the matter to proceed smoothly", he said.

The minister said that he was addressing the press conference as a representative of the government and will not

refer to the politics played by the students' body.

AASU, which was a part of the Centre's High Level Committee on Clause 6 of Assam Accord, had on Tuesday released

the report saying that the public has the right to know the contents after it had officially submitted it five months ago and the "government was sitting idle".

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had described the AASU move as "unfortunate" as the BJP-led government will "not

do anything that will harm the interests of the people".

The Committee, headed by retired Justice B K Sharma, had submitted the report to the chief minister on February 25 for handing it over to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Committee had in its report recommended the definition of Assamese be fixed as the tribal, indigenous and all other Indian citizens residing within the territory of Assam as per the First Schedule of the Constitution on or

before January 1, 1951 along with their descendants.

According to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, signed on August 15, 1985, constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards as may be appropriate shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

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