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1971 better Clause 6 cut-off: Congress

Assam PCC doubts whether Centre will accept report

By Debananda Medak in Guwahati
  • Published 23.02.20, 12:03 AM
  • Updated 23.02.20, 12:03 AM
  • a min read
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Congress MP Abdul Khaleque (Wikipedia)

Assam Congress MP Abdul Khaleque on Saturday said 1971 is scientifically more favourable as the cut-off year to define the “indigenous” people of Assam.

The MP from the Barpeta constituency said, “Even after 1951, a number of states was carved out of erstwhile Assam. Accordingly, there was redistribution of communities as well as redrawing of the physical boundary of the then state of Assam. Therefore, considering 1971 as the base year to define the ‘indigenous’ people of Assam seems more scientific.”

The high-level committee constituted for Clause 6 of the Assam Accord has recommended 1951 as the cut-off year to define the state’s “indigenous” people.

Stating that the political geography of Assam has been changing ever since ancient times to the post-Independence period, Khaleque said, “The Assamese have been exposed to many rulers as well as administrators, including the British Raj in different periods of time. If one is to be defined as indigenous considering the present state of Assam, it will be more logical and scientific to define the term based on 1971.” Referring to the Cambridge Dictionary and the United Nations’ definition of the “indigenous”, Khaleque said, “It is only the tribal, Koch and the Kalitas of Assam who can claim themselves indigenous according to the definition given by the Cambridge Dictionary and the United Nations. It is difficult to identify who the other indigenous communities in the state are.”

The MP added, “Since the given definition on the term indigenous is difficult enough to qualify, we must consider a cut-off year, that is agreeable to all without creating much confusion.”

He also appealed to the Assam government to rethink the recent announcement of shutting down the Sanskrit tols and madarsas of the state.

PCC stand: The Assam PCC on Saturday said it doubted whether the Centre would accept the report of the high-powered committee on implementation of Clause 6.

Assam PCC general secretary and senior spokesperson Durga Das Boro said: “Union home minister Amit Shah had earlier said the Centre will accept the Clause 6 report within a week of its completion. But a week will end this Sunday and the report is yet to submitted to the Centre. I doubt the BJP’s mindset.”

Boro added that the Congress would play crucial role in forming the new Bodoland Territorial Council. The party will probably form an alliance with two parties.

Additional reporting by Rokibuz Zaman