AAMSU expresses concerns on all India NRC, CAB and clause 6 of Assam Accord

The Union Home Minister had recently held a meeting of stakeholders from the north-east to hear their views on nation-wide NRC. Among other stake holders, AAMSU (All Assam Minorities Students’ Union) was one of the groups who attended and presented its view. In the written memorandum, AAMSU laid down concerns on how a nation-wide NRC would abrogate the Assam Accord. The memorandum also apprised the Centre on how its own , government approved High Level Committee for implementation of clause 6 of Assam Accord was far exceeding its agenda.


The statement issued by AAMSU reiterates how the process of NRC was revived in Assam and gives details on how the NRC process in Assam was carried out under the supervision of the Supreme Court calling it a “fair process based on scientific methods”.

CAB in the Parliament

The statement mentions how, when the CAB, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha and a Joint Parliamentary Committee was formed, AAMSU had submitted memorandum before the JPC expressing views on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 wherein it was categorically stated that the provisions of historical Assam Accord, 1985 shall be kept intact and the process of NRC shall be completed in time bound manner.

The gazette notification that laid down foundation for CAB

The statement makes mention of the Gazette notification dated September 7, 2015 in respect of Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 whereby Order 3A has been inserted in the Foreigners Order, 1948 by amendment, exempting the persons belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution of fear of religious persecution and entered into India on or before the 31st December, 2014. These classes of people are exempted from prosecution under the Foreigners Act and orders made thereunder.

The same gazette notification also notified amendment of Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015 whereby Rule 4 (1) (ha) has been inserted having the same effect as the amendment to the Foreigners Act, thus effectively exempting Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 from prosecution under the said Passport Rules.

A writ petition (WP(C) No.68/2016) is pending before a Constitution Bench at the apex court for considering the constitutionality of the aforementioned amendments notified in gazette notification of September 7, 2015.

Clause 6 of Assam Accord and the High Level Committee

Clause 6 of the Assam Accord deals with constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. The drawback of this clause or the Assam Accord as a whole is that it does not define “Assamese people”. A high level Committee headed by Justice (retired) Biplab Kumar Sarma, consisting of 12 members is in the process of gathering feedback from the public for further recommending to the government on better and effective implementation of clause 6.

The statement mentions that there is also no definition of Assamese as community. In a book written by Dr. Lila Gogoi titled AsomorSanskriti, there is reference to the fact that no particular caste can be represented as the Assamese people; rather during different periods of history, different sections, communities, tribes came to Assam, all of whom have assimilated with the characteristics of Assam; they are all Assamese.

In 2015, the then Speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly took initiative to define the term Assamese and AAMSU had submitted a memorandum in that regard, stating,

“As per historical Assam Accord 1985, all persons except those who will be detected and deported by due process of law and who are permanently residing in Assam, assimilating themselves with Assam’s socio-economic, cultural aspects irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and language are thinking for the wellbeing of Assam shall be defined as Assamese”

AAMSU raised it concerns that the High Level Committee was raising issues and topics beyond the provisions of clause 6.It observed that the said Committee had invited suggestions as regards to protection of Land Rights of indigenous tribal, indigenous Assamese and other indigenous people of Assam, which is a provision under clause 10 and clause 11 of the Assam Accord, thus exceeding its agenda, as approved by the central government.

AAMSU’s concerns

AAMSU has urged the Home Ministry to keep the provisions of the Assam Accord, 1985, as accepted by all sections of society, intact at any cost, in the interest of Assam as well as the country. It also urged that National Identity Cards be issued to all persons included in the final NRC as published on August 31, 2019 and those excluded be given free, fair, reasonable and adequate opportunity to prefer an appeal as per provision of the Paragraph. 8 of the Schedule to the Rule.4A of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

It is only natural that the AAMSU is concerned about Assam undergoing NRC all over again as it would not only bring back a tumultuous time for Assam but will also put the minorities in Assam, such as Muslims, who are at a particular and definite risk at being declared foreigners despite of having been citizens as per provisions of Assam Accord and the apex court supervised NRC that has already taken place in the state.

Although the nation-wide NRC is touted to be based on citizenship and not religion, Muslims left out of such NRC will not be provided for in the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act which makes matters even worse for the Muslim community, as other minority communities will at least be protected. The Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, has made amply clear the intentions of his government to introduce CAB, which excludes “foreigners” belonging to Muslim community for provision of citizenship and hence the concerns of the AAMSU are valid.

AAMSU’S memo to the Union Home Minister can be read here



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