Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Worry in Barak Valley over Clause 6 repurcussion for Bengalis

Bengalis would face a lot of trouble if Clause 6 was implemented: Amora Bangalee state secretary

By Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee in Silchar
  • Published 25.02.20, 12:21 AM
  • Updated 25.02.20, 12:21 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Himanta Biswa Sarma had told the media in Guwahati that the committee constituted regarding implementation of Clause 6 would submit its report to the government on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Different organisations in Barak Valley have expressed deep concern for Bengalis living in Assam in connection with the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

The clause states: “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.” On Saturday, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had told the media in Guwahati that the committee constituted regarding implementation of Clause 6 would submit its report to the government on Tuesday.

The state secretary of Amora Bangalee, Sadhan Purkayastha, told this correspondent on Monday that the Bengalis would “face a lot of trouble” if Clause 6 was implemented. “We are hopeful that the government will respect and abide by the Constitution and not accept the proposal (report). The matter is sensitive. We expect the government to act judiciously,” he said. He made it clear that they would not tolerate any attempt to deprive the Bengalis of their rights. “If the clause is implemented, we will have no option but to launch a crusade for our rights, dignity and existence,” Purkayastha said.

The president of the All Assam Bengali Hindu Association, Basudeb Sharma, said it was too early to comment on this as nothing had been made public about the matter. “However, from newspaper reports and other sources, it does not seem like everything will go well for Bengalis in the days ahead,” he said.

He claimed that the Bengalis are the original indigenous people of Assam and stressed that the rights and interests of the Bengalis be considered equally. He vented his anger over non-inclusion of any representative from the Bengali community in the committee. The founder-president of the All Cachar Karimganj Hailakandi Students’ Association and former BJP member, Pradip Dutta Roy, said a “miasma of jeopardy” was hovering over the existence of the Bengalis and appealed to the masses and organisations to be united and raise their voice against anything anti-Bengali.

He said they opposed the proposal by the committee to make 1951 as the cut-off year for identifying the indigenous people of the state and advocated that the cut-off year be made 1971 (as per the Assam Accord). “Reports in newspapers have claimed that there will be 80 per cent reservation for Assamese people once the clause is implemented. We will never accept this. Everything will be finished for Bengalis if this happens,” Roy said.

He also echoed Sharma that the Bengalis are the indigenous people of Assam.

The general secretary of the Barak Upotyaka Banga Sahitya O Sanskritik Sammelan, a conglomerate of various socio-cultural organisations and civil society groups, Gautam Prasad Dutta, said the proposal of considering 1951 as the cut-off year for identification of indigenous people violated the very spirit of the Assam Accord.

“The Accord is based on 1971. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) process carried out under the supervision of the Supreme Court was also based on 1971. How can this be changed to 1951 now?” he said. “The state will witness a maelstrom if the issue is not treated in a sagacious way,” he added.