GUWAHATI: Assam’s health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said that the state government was on the right track to execute the recommendations of the high-level committee constituted to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
Sarma said, “I do not understand why the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leaders had exposed the report. We are on track according to us and we advanced far away over the last 5 months. Still, we are in the same phase and stand committed to implementing the Accord as recommended by the high-level committee.”
The health minister’s clarification came a day after the AASU read out the recommendations of the high-level committee public on Tuesday alleging that the state government was lacking in spirit to materialise the Committee’s report.
He said, “By exposing the report of the high-level committee, the AASU has complicated the issue. We could have moved ahead carefully avoiding controversy without exposing the report.”
The AASU, a signatory of the Assam Accord, alleged that despite the high-level committee had submitted its report to the Union Home Ministry some five months back, the Centre was sitting idle on it.
Hours after AASU released the confidential report in public, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday reassured that the state government was committed to implement the recommendations made in the report.
Sonowal claimed that the proceeding was delayed due to the global pandemic of Coronavirus
Highlighting that the Committee has clearly written for two years period of time to implement the recommendation, Sarma said, “Assembly in its wisdom will decide the definition of the Assamese. We have to move carefully whether the cut-off year should be based on 1951 or 1971. While doing so, we must avoid controversy. At the same time, we have to decide whether we need to go for another round of NRC or will be materialized based on documents.”
He stressed that the student union should know that the definition of the ‘Assamese’ has to be ratified by the Assam assembly. “If the Assam assembly ratifies the definition and gives it to the central government, the Centre will work on it. The Centre has already started working by constituting the delimitation commission.”
The Minister asserted that the Assam assembly has the primary authority to define the term ‘Assamese’. “Centre has no role unless the state assembly approves the definition of the ‘Assamese’ as recommended by the Committee. We will bring in the Committee’s report for debate and discussion in the assembly at any point in time. Accordingly, the Centre will start work on the forwarding,” he further said.
Criticizing the AASU leaders for its revelation of the report, the minister said, “The AASU will definitely allege that BJP is lacking in spirit. That is obvious because the AASU is going to do politics with the Committee’s report. Earlier the apex students’ body was a non-political platform. However, currently, AASU has turned into a political party. They are no more a students’ union. So, right before the election, it is obvious that they would blame us to achieve its political interest.”
Taking reference to the Committee’s recommendation, the minister stressed that there were complex recommendations for which implementation should be stepped up after due scrutiny by a superior committee comprising of a three-member retired Supreme Court judges.