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Constitutional and legislative amendments needed to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord: Committee

Six months after submission of recommendations by the Committee, some members release it independently

Sabrangindia 12 Aug 2020

AASU

In February 2020, the Clause 6 Committee constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had submitted a slew of recommendations pertaining to Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards for the interests and culture of Assamese people. The 14-member high-powered Committee had been constituted in July 2019 and had been given six months to submit its report, which it did just days before the deadline.

This Report of the Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord was however not made public at that time.

Now, six months later, some members of the panel including Arunachal Pradesh Advocate General Nilay Dutta and three members of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) have released the report independently.

As per the report, what is key to the Committee’s recommendations is a series of amendments to Article 371 B. The report says, “The Committee is of the opinion that to give full effect to its Recommendations, as stated hereinbelow, several Constitutional and legislative amendments will be necessitated. The existing Article 371-B in the Constitution of India will need to be amended.”

In order to understand the ramifications of this, first let us take a closer look at Article 371 B of the Constitution of India and Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.


Article 371 B of the Constitution of India

This Article deals with Special provision with respect to the State of Assam and states, “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the President may, by order made with respect to the State of Assam, provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected from the tribal areas specified in Part I of the table appended to paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule and such number of other members of that Assembly as may be specified in the order and for the modifications to be made in the rules of procedure of that Assembly for the constitution and proper functioning of such committee.”


Clause 6 of the Assam Accord

The Assam Accord was signed in 1985 after a 6-year-long violent agitation that was born out of concerns of ‘outsiders’ or ‘illegal immigrants’ from Bangladesh entering and taking over parts of Assam in an alleged bid to change the original demography and culture of the region.

Clause 6 of the Assam Accord says, “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”

A committee was formed to look into how the interests and culture of Assamese people could be best protected and according to the government’s official website, the following action has been taken so far:

  1. The Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra Society was established under clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord and committed to work for preservation, promotion and upliftment of culture of the people of Assam.
    For the construction of the complex, the Ministry of H.R.D. Govt. of India funded Rs. 18.85 crores and Govt. of Assam funded Rs. 1.50 crores the total construction cost being 20.35 crores. The total area of the campus is 10.28 hectares at Panjabari, Guwahati.   

  2. Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Scheme (Phase-I & Phase-II) has been implemented for Rs. 8.79 crores.

  3. The Modernisation of the Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Phase III (Part-I) for Rs. 10 crores has been sanctioned by the Govt. of India and works are currently in progress. Work completed about 85%. Construction of Mini Film City is under process. This Film Studio Society will become a Film Hub of the entire North-East Region.  Construction of “Film Archive” is under process and expected to be completion shortly.

  4. Rs. 21.00 Crore has been granted as financial assistance to 219 Nos. of Satras of Assam.

  5. Rs. 7.00 crores have been provided as financial assistance for 11 Nos. historical monuments so far for their protection, preservation and development.

  6. Archaeological Survey of India has taken up the protection, preservation and development of 5 monuments. These are

(i) Singri Temple’s ruins

(ii) Urvarshi Archaeological Site

(iii) Poa-Mecca, Hajo

(iv) Kedar Temple, Hajo and

(v) Hayagriva Madhava Temple, Hajo.

  1. The Executive Council of the Jawaharlal Nehru University has resolved to approve the establishment of an Assamese Chair in the Centre of Indian Language, Literature and Culture Studies of the University. The matter is being taken up with the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

  2. An Autonomous Institution namely Anandaram Borooah Institute of Language Art & Culture Assam(ABILAC) has been established  on 12thDecember,1989 with the Financial Assistance from Govt. of Assam. The Institute is pursing Research for the development of Indigenous Language. Art and Culture of the State. Besides this, the Directorate of Higher Education providing annual grants to the following Voluntary Organizations for upliftment of the Language, Art and Culture in their respective field. The list of Voluntary Organizations involves are as follows:- 

(1) Indian Art History Congress,

(2) Assam Sahitya Sabha,

(3) Assam Science Society,

(4) Institute of Adv. Study in Science & Technology,

(5) Central Tai Academy, Patsaku,

(6) Sadou Asom Lekhika Samaroah Samity,

(7) Tai Sahitya Sabha,

(8) Manipuri Sahitya Parishad,

(9) Dimasa Sahitya Sabha,

(10) Assam Academy of Mathematics,

(11) Borak Upatyaka Bonga O Sahitya Sanmilan,

(12) South East Asia Ramayani Research Centre,

(13) Karbi Lame T Amei (Karbi Sahitya Sabha),

(14) Nepali Sahitya Parishad,

(15) Rabha Academy,

(16) Kamrup Sanskrit Sanjivani Sabha,

(17) Kamrup Anusandhan Samity,

(18) Purnakant Buragbohain Institute,

(19) Institute of Tai Studies.

  1. The different political parties, Sahitya Sabhas, Youth organizations, All Assam Student Union and reputed N.G.O’s are requested to furnish their views/ suggestions for preparation of definition of “Assamese Peoples” in the meeting held time to time. Besides a few organizations, the views and suggestion from all organization are not received. The matter is under the consideration of Cabinet Sub-Committee at present.

However, as per the report, “The Committee noted that the Assam Accord is yet to be fully and effectively implemented even after 35 years of its signing.”
 

The Core Proposal

So, what would the Committee have the government do? As per the report, great emphasis has been placed on the foreigner issue. The core proposal states, “Assam Accord must be fully implemented in a time bound manner, so as to facilitate detection, deletion and deportation of foreigners in Assam.” It adds, “Prompt and adequate measures to be adopted to completely seal the IndoBangladesh Border in the line of Indo-Pakistan Border.” The report also suggests, “Till deportation of post 1971 stream of declared foreigners is completed, they should be resettled in areas outside the State of Assam, as an interim measure.”

The Committee also states that, “It is felt that complete implementation of all Clauses of Assam Accord especially Clauses 5.1 to 5.9, Clauses 7, 10 and 11 are essential for the safeguards to be provided under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”

Here’s what these clauses say:
 

Clause 5: Foreigners Issue

5.1       For purposes of detection and deletion of foreigners, 1.1.1966 shall be the base date and year.

5.2       All persons who came to Assam prior to 1.1.1966, including those amongst them whose name appeared on the electoral rolls used in 1967 elections, shall be regularized.

5.3       Foreigners who came to Assam after 1.1.1966 (inclusive) and upto 24th March, 1971 shall be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964.

5.4       Names of Foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral rolls in force. Such persons will be required to register themselves before the Registration Officers of the respective districts in accordance with the provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1939.

5.5       For this purpose, Government of India will undertake suitable strengthening of the governmental machinery.

5.6       On the expiry of a period of ten year following the date of detection, the names of all such persons which have been deleted from the electoral rolls shall be restored.

5.7       All persons who were expelled, earlier, but have since re-entered illegally into Assam, shall be expelled.

5.8       Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.

5.9       The Government will give due consideration to certain difficulties expressed by the AASU/AAGSP regarding the implementation of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983.


Clause 7: Economic Development

It says, “The Government takes this opportunity to renew their commitment for the speedy all round economic development of Assam, so as to improve the standard of living of the people. Special emphasis will be placed on education and science & technology through establishment of national institutions.”


Clause 10: Prevention of Encroachment of Government lands

This clause states, “It will be ensured that relevant laws for prevention of encroachment of Government lands and lands in tribal belts and blocks are strictly enforced and unauthorized encroachers evicted as laid down under such laws.”


Clause 11: Restricting acquisition of immovable property by foreigners

It says, “It will be ensured that the relevant law restricting acquisition of immovable property by foreigners in Assam is strictly enforced.”


Defining Assamese People

The next set of key recommendations deals with the definition of Assamese People. Here the report says, “The Committee after deliberations and upon consideration of the various representations from the stakeholders and further on the basis of interactions with various organisations and individuals, the Committee has come to the conclusion that the definition of Assamese People for specific purpose of implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord should consist of Indigenous Tribals as well as other Indigenous Communities of Assam over and above Indigenous Assamese.”

It further defines Assamese People as all citizens of India who are part of:

(i)               Assamese community, residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 Or

(ii)              Any indigenous Tribal Community of Assam residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 Or

(iii)            Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 Or

(iv)            All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 And

(v)              Descendants of the above categories


Reservations

The Committee recommends reserving 80-100 percent of seats allotted to the state of Assam in the Parliament for Assamese People as defined above. It further recommends that 80-100 percent of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and Local Bodies be reserved for Assamese people but be inclusive of pre-existing reservations and that similar reservation to be extended in respect of local bodies excluding Sixth Schedule Councils.

With respect to Sixth Schedule Councils namely Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Council, the Committee recommends immediate and effective implementation of various agreements arrived at so far. The Committee further recommends that the Statutory Autonomous Councils created by the State Acts namely, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, Tiwa Autonomous Council, Mising Autonomous Council, Deori Autonomous Council, Thengal Kachari Autonomous Council and Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council should be made fully functional by providing adequate financial and administrative support. Similar support should be extended to Development Councils.

This is significant because Assam is home to several different tribes and communities who enjoy varying degrees of autonomy and protections when it comes to administration of affairs within designated areas.


Creation of Upper House

This is where the Committee says an amendment to Article 371 B will be required. The Committee recommends “the making of adequate provision for an Upper House (Legislative Council of Assam) and all seats thereof to be reserved for the ‘Assamese People’. The composition of the House shall be from among the SC, ST and the tribes/communities of the State (seats allotted in descending order of population of each tribe on rotational basis).”


Employment

Here too the Committee recommends amendments to Article 371 B to enable:

·80 to 100 percent of Group C and D level posts in Central Government/Semi-central Government/Central PSUs/Private Sector including under PPP Mode falling and arising in Assam should be reserved for Assamese people.

·80 to 100% of jobs under Government of Assam and State Government undertakings and 70 to 100% of vacancies arising in private partnerships including PPP mode in State of Assam shall be reserved for Assamese people.

 Land and Land Rights

This is where a whole host of protections are granted to ensure land remains in control of Assamese people. The report says, “Unless the land rights of the “Assamese People” are protected along with the political rights, it will be a futile exercise to adopt measures for full implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord in its true spirit, keeping in mind the background facts.” Some of the key recommendations are as follows:

·In addition to tribal belts and blocks under Chapter X of ALRR 1886, the State Government should identify the Revenue Circles of the State, where only “Assamese People” can own and possess land and transfer of such land in these areas are limited to them alone. The selected urban areas under the Assam Municipal Act will however be excluded without affecting the interest of the Assamese people.

·Government should take immediate steps to prevent shrinkage/decrease of Prime Agricultural Land. There has to be complete ban on transfer of such land for non-agricultural purposes.

·Section 8 of the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Re-classification and Transfer of Land for Agricultural Purpose) Act, 2015 which allows violation of the law pertaining to re-classification should be repealed. Whenever, re-classification is sought, the public opinion in a meeting of the Gram Sabha will be a mandatory condition

The above recommendations are significant as they provide protection to indigenous and forest dwelling communities that live on forest land and depend on forest produce.

Another key provision deals with the erosion prone Char areas. The report recommends, “Char areas should be surveyed and newly created Char areas should be treated as Government land and erosion affected people should get priority in allotment. Alternatively, Char land is to be taken over for agricultural and allied activities like dairy, fodder plantation etc through community ownership.”

It is noteworthy that due to erosion in these riverine areas, often entire villages are washed away and people have to relocate bag and baggage often losing important documentation in the process. As documents are the only way for people to defend their Indian citizenship, they are often the most valuable possession of these people.

Some other recommendations have been made with respect to administration and management of Tea Garden land. Recommendations also pertain to allotment of land patta to Assamese people.


Language, Culture and Natural Resources

While Assamese shall continue to remain the official language of the state of Assam, the Committee also recommends protection and promotion of indigenous tribal languages including, Bodo, Mishing, Karbi, Dimasa, Koch-Rajbongshi, Rabha, Deuri, Tiwa, Tai and others. The Committee says, “The Four Language Policy should be given appropriate legislative protection.”

The Committee has also made a series of recommendations to protect ancient monuments, and institutions like Sattras, Naamghars and other indigenous religious institutions. The Committee also recommends the “preservation and documentation of the Zikirs and Zaris composed by Ajan Pir, the celebrated Sufi saint of Assam. Efforts should be made for translation of Zikirs in various indigenous languages of the State.”

As far natural resources are concerned, the Committee recommends, “Value addition to the State’s natural resources, both renewable or otherwise, be carried out within the State itself so as to generate economic activities and employment opportunities in the State.” It adds, “The Assam State Biodiversity Board should be strengthened with sufficient financial assistance from both the Central and the State Government for effective functioning and taking up measures for consideration of the biodiversity of Assam.”

The entire Report of the Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord Constituted by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India may be read here: 

 

Related:

Is MHA distancing itself from Assam Clause 6 committee report?

Does the Assam MSME Ordinance threaten indigenous land in the state?

Constitutional and legislative amendments needed to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord: Committee

Six months after submission of recommendations by the Committee, some members release it independently

AASU

In February 2020, the Clause 6 Committee constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had submitted a slew of recommendations pertaining to Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards for the interests and culture of Assamese people. The 14-member high-powered Committee had been constituted in July 2019 and had been given six months to submit its report, which it did just days before the deadline.

This Report of the Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord was however not made public at that time.

Now, six months later, some members of the panel including Arunachal Pradesh Advocate General Nilay Dutta and three members of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) have released the report independently.

As per the report, what is key to the Committee’s recommendations is a series of amendments to Article 371 B. The report says, “The Committee is of the opinion that to give full effect to its Recommendations, as stated hereinbelow, several Constitutional and legislative amendments will be necessitated. The existing Article 371-B in the Constitution of India will need to be amended.”

In order to understand the ramifications of this, first let us take a closer look at Article 371 B of the Constitution of India and Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.


Article 371 B of the Constitution of India

This Article deals with Special provision with respect to the State of Assam and states, “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the President may, by order made with respect to the State of Assam, provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected from the tribal areas specified in Part I of the table appended to paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule and such number of other members of that Assembly as may be specified in the order and for the modifications to be made in the rules of procedure of that Assembly for the constitution and proper functioning of such committee.”


Clause 6 of the Assam Accord

The Assam Accord was signed in 1985 after a 6-year-long violent agitation that was born out of concerns of ‘outsiders’ or ‘illegal immigrants’ from Bangladesh entering and taking over parts of Assam in an alleged bid to change the original demography and culture of the region.

Clause 6 of the Assam Accord says, “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”

A committee was formed to look into how the interests and culture of Assamese people could be best protected and according to the government’s official website, the following action has been taken so far:

  1. The Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra Society was established under clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord and committed to work for preservation, promotion and upliftment of culture of the people of Assam.
    For the construction of the complex, the Ministry of H.R.D. Govt. of India funded Rs. 18.85 crores and Govt. of Assam funded Rs. 1.50 crores the total construction cost being 20.35 crores. The total area of the campus is 10.28 hectares at Panjabari, Guwahati.   

  2. Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Scheme (Phase-I & Phase-II) has been implemented for Rs. 8.79 crores.

  3. The Modernisation of the Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Phase III (Part-I) for Rs. 10 crores has been sanctioned by the Govt. of India and works are currently in progress. Work completed about 85%. Construction of Mini Film City is under process. This Film Studio Society will become a Film Hub of the entire North-East Region.  Construction of “Film Archive” is under process and expected to be completion shortly.

  4. Rs. 21.00 Crore has been granted as financial assistance to 219 Nos. of Satras of Assam.

  5. Rs. 7.00 crores have been provided as financial assistance for 11 Nos. historical monuments so far for their protection, preservation and development.

  6. Archaeological Survey of India has taken up the protection, preservation and development of 5 monuments. These are

(i) Singri Temple’s ruins

(ii) Urvarshi Archaeological Site

(iii) Poa-Mecca, Hajo

(iv) Kedar Temple, Hajo and

(v) Hayagriva Madhava Temple, Hajo.

  1. The Executive Council of the Jawaharlal Nehru University has resolved to approve the establishment of an Assamese Chair in the Centre of Indian Language, Literature and Culture Studies of the University. The matter is being taken up with the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

  2. An Autonomous Institution namely Anandaram Borooah Institute of Language Art & Culture Assam(ABILAC) has been established  on 12thDecember,1989 with the Financial Assistance from Govt. of Assam. The Institute is pursing Research for the development of Indigenous Language. Art and Culture of the State. Besides this, the Directorate of Higher Education providing annual grants to the following Voluntary Organizations for upliftment of the Language, Art and Culture in their respective field. The list of Voluntary Organizations involves are as follows:- 

(1) Indian Art History Congress,

(2) Assam Sahitya Sabha,

(3) Assam Science Society,

(4) Institute of Adv. Study in Science & Technology,

(5) Central Tai Academy, Patsaku,

(6) Sadou Asom Lekhika Samaroah Samity,

(7) Tai Sahitya Sabha,

(8) Manipuri Sahitya Parishad,

(9) Dimasa Sahitya Sabha,

(10) Assam Academy of Mathematics,

(11) Borak Upatyaka Bonga O Sahitya Sanmilan,

(12) South East Asia Ramayani Research Centre,

(13) Karbi Lame T Amei (Karbi Sahitya Sabha),

(14) Nepali Sahitya Parishad,

(15) Rabha Academy,

(16) Kamrup Sanskrit Sanjivani Sabha,

(17) Kamrup Anusandhan Samity,

(18) Purnakant Buragbohain Institute,

(19) Institute of Tai Studies.

  1. The different political parties, Sahitya Sabhas, Youth organizations, All Assam Student Union and reputed N.G.O’s are requested to furnish their views/ suggestions for preparation of definition of “Assamese Peoples” in the meeting held time to time. Besides a few organizations, the views and suggestion from all organization are not received. The matter is under the consideration of Cabinet Sub-Committee at present.

However, as per the report, “The Committee noted that the Assam Accord is yet to be fully and effectively implemented even after 35 years of its signing.”
 

The Core Proposal

So, what would the Committee have the government do? As per the report, great emphasis has been placed on the foreigner issue. The core proposal states, “Assam Accord must be fully implemented in a time bound manner, so as to facilitate detection, deletion and deportation of foreigners in Assam.” It adds, “Prompt and adequate measures to be adopted to completely seal the IndoBangladesh Border in the line of Indo-Pakistan Border.” The report also suggests, “Till deportation of post 1971 stream of declared foreigners is completed, they should be resettled in areas outside the State of Assam, as an interim measure.”

The Committee also states that, “It is felt that complete implementation of all Clauses of Assam Accord especially Clauses 5.1 to 5.9, Clauses 7, 10 and 11 are essential for the safeguards to be provided under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”

Here’s what these clauses say:
 

Clause 5: Foreigners Issue

5.1       For purposes of detection and deletion of foreigners, 1.1.1966 shall be the base date and year.

5.2       All persons who came to Assam prior to 1.1.1966, including those amongst them whose name appeared on the electoral rolls used in 1967 elections, shall be regularized.

5.3       Foreigners who came to Assam after 1.1.1966 (inclusive) and upto 24th March, 1971 shall be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964.

5.4       Names of Foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral rolls in force. Such persons will be required to register themselves before the Registration Officers of the respective districts in accordance with the provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1939.

5.5       For this purpose, Government of India will undertake suitable strengthening of the governmental machinery.

5.6       On the expiry of a period of ten year following the date of detection, the names of all such persons which have been deleted from the electoral rolls shall be restored.

5.7       All persons who were expelled, earlier, but have since re-entered illegally into Assam, shall be expelled.

5.8       Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.

5.9       The Government will give due consideration to certain difficulties expressed by the AASU/AAGSP regarding the implementation of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983.


Clause 7: Economic Development

It says, “The Government takes this opportunity to renew their commitment for the speedy all round economic development of Assam, so as to improve the standard of living of the people. Special emphasis will be placed on education and science & technology through establishment of national institutions.”


Clause 10: Prevention of Encroachment of Government lands

This clause states, “It will be ensured that relevant laws for prevention of encroachment of Government lands and lands in tribal belts and blocks are strictly enforced and unauthorized encroachers evicted as laid down under such laws.”


Clause 11: Restricting acquisition of immovable property by foreigners

It says, “It will be ensured that the relevant law restricting acquisition of immovable property by foreigners in Assam is strictly enforced.”


Defining Assamese People

The next set of key recommendations deals with the definition of Assamese People. Here the report says, “The Committee after deliberations and upon consideration of the various representations from the stakeholders and further on the basis of interactions with various organisations and individuals, the Committee has come to the conclusion that the definition of Assamese People for specific purpose of implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord should consist of Indigenous Tribals as well as other Indigenous Communities of Assam over and above Indigenous Assamese.”

It further defines Assamese People as all citizens of India who are part of:

(i)               Assamese community, residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 Or

(ii)              Any indigenous Tribal Community of Assam residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 Or

(iii)            Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the Territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 Or

(iv)            All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before 01.01.1951 And

(v)              Descendants of the above categories


Reservations

The Committee recommends reserving 80-100 percent of seats allotted to the state of Assam in the Parliament for Assamese People as defined above. It further recommends that 80-100 percent of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and Local Bodies be reserved for Assamese people but be inclusive of pre-existing reservations and that similar reservation to be extended in respect of local bodies excluding Sixth Schedule Councils.

With respect to Sixth Schedule Councils namely Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council and Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Council, the Committee recommends immediate and effective implementation of various agreements arrived at so far. The Committee further recommends that the Statutory Autonomous Councils created by the State Acts namely, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, Tiwa Autonomous Council, Mising Autonomous Council, Deori Autonomous Council, Thengal Kachari Autonomous Council and Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council should be made fully functional by providing adequate financial and administrative support. Similar support should be extended to Development Councils.

This is significant because Assam is home to several different tribes and communities who enjoy varying degrees of autonomy and protections when it comes to administration of affairs within designated areas.


Creation of Upper House

This is where the Committee says an amendment to Article 371 B will be required. The Committee recommends “the making of adequate provision for an Upper House (Legislative Council of Assam) and all seats thereof to be reserved for the ‘Assamese People’. The composition of the House shall be from among the SC, ST and the tribes/communities of the State (seats allotted in descending order of population of each tribe on rotational basis).”


Employment

Here too the Committee recommends amendments to Article 371 B to enable:

·80 to 100 percent of Group C and D level posts in Central Government/Semi-central Government/Central PSUs/Private Sector including under PPP Mode falling and arising in Assam should be reserved for Assamese people.

·80 to 100% of jobs under Government of Assam and State Government undertakings and 70 to 100% of vacancies arising in private partnerships including PPP mode in State of Assam shall be reserved for Assamese people.

 Land and Land Rights

This is where a whole host of protections are granted to ensure land remains in control of Assamese people. The report says, “Unless the land rights of the “Assamese People” are protected along with the political rights, it will be a futile exercise to adopt measures for full implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord in its true spirit, keeping in mind the background facts.” Some of the key recommendations are as follows:

·In addition to tribal belts and blocks under Chapter X of ALRR 1886, the State Government should identify the Revenue Circles of the State, where only “Assamese People” can own and possess land and transfer of such land in these areas are limited to them alone. The selected urban areas under the Assam Municipal Act will however be excluded without affecting the interest of the Assamese people.

·Government should take immediate steps to prevent shrinkage/decrease of Prime Agricultural Land. There has to be complete ban on transfer of such land for non-agricultural purposes.

·Section 8 of the Assam Agricultural Land (Regulation of Re-classification and Transfer of Land for Agricultural Purpose) Act, 2015 which allows violation of the law pertaining to re-classification should be repealed. Whenever, re-classification is sought, the public opinion in a meeting of the Gram Sabha will be a mandatory condition

The above recommendations are significant as they provide protection to indigenous and forest dwelling communities that live on forest land and depend on forest produce.

Another key provision deals with the erosion prone Char areas. The report recommends, “Char areas should be surveyed and newly created Char areas should be treated as Government land and erosion affected people should get priority in allotment. Alternatively, Char land is to be taken over for agricultural and allied activities like dairy, fodder plantation etc through community ownership.”

It is noteworthy that due to erosion in these riverine areas, often entire villages are washed away and people have to relocate bag and baggage often losing important documentation in the process. As documents are the only way for people to defend their Indian citizenship, they are often the most valuable possession of these people.

Some other recommendations have been made with respect to administration and management of Tea Garden land. Recommendations also pertain to allotment of land patta to Assamese people.


Language, Culture and Natural Resources

While Assamese shall continue to remain the official language of the state of Assam, the Committee also recommends protection and promotion of indigenous tribal languages including, Bodo, Mishing, Karbi, Dimasa, Koch-Rajbongshi, Rabha, Deuri, Tiwa, Tai and others. The Committee says, “The Four Language Policy should be given appropriate legislative protection.”

The Committee has also made a series of recommendations to protect ancient monuments, and institutions like Sattras, Naamghars and other indigenous religious institutions. The Committee also recommends the “preservation and documentation of the Zikirs and Zaris composed by Ajan Pir, the celebrated Sufi saint of Assam. Efforts should be made for translation of Zikirs in various indigenous languages of the State.”

As far natural resources are concerned, the Committee recommends, “Value addition to the State’s natural resources, both renewable or otherwise, be carried out within the State itself so as to generate economic activities and employment opportunities in the State.” It adds, “The Assam State Biodiversity Board should be strengthened with sufficient financial assistance from both the Central and the State Government for effective functioning and taking up measures for consideration of the biodiversity of Assam.”

The entire Report of the Committee on Implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord Constituted by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India may be read here: 

 

Related:

Is MHA distancing itself from Assam Clause 6 committee report?

Does the Assam MSME Ordinance threaten indigenous land in the state?

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The Lemmings of Hashimpura
summer

Summer Culture

Our first summer culture bouquet features fiction from Syria and Iraq and poetry and art from Palestine.
khoj

Teaching Without Prejudice

Report of the CABE Committee on 'Regulatory Mechanisms for Textbooks and Parallel Textbooks Taught in Schools Outside the Government System

Campaigns

Thursday

24

Sep

07 pm onwards

Youth for Farmers

Friday

25

Sep

10 am onwards

Nation-wide protest

Pan-India

Friday

25

Sep

12 pm onwards

SFI National Protest

Facebook / Twitter

IN FACT

Analysis

Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020
hashimpura

Hashimpura Massacre

The Lemmings of Hashimpura
summer

Summer Culture

Our first summer culture bouquet features fiction from Syria and Iraq and poetry and art from Palestine.
khoj

Teaching Without Prejudice

Report of the CABE Committee on 'Regulatory Mechanisms for Textbooks and Parallel Textbooks Taught in Schools Outside the Government System

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