Clause 6 Of Assam Accord: Defining Assamese People And Safeguards For Them


  • On 11th August 2020, the All Assam Students Union (AASU), a party to the Assam Accord made public a high-level committee’s confidential report on the implementation of 1985 Assam Accord’s Clause 6.

About Assam Accord

  • It is a tripartite accord by the Government of India, State Government of Assam and the leaders of the Assam Movement in 1985 that was followed by a six-year agitation that was launched by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1979, demanding the identification and deportation of illegal immigrants from Assam.

About Clause 6 of the Assam Accord 

  • It is a part of the Assam Accord that reads: “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.”
  • The Home Ministry in 2019 constituted a 14 member committee headed by retired High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord.

Recommendations of the Committee

  1. Definition of Assamese People
  • All citizens of India who are part of:
  • Assamese community, residing in the Territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or
  • Any indigenous tribal community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or
  • Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; or
  • All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1, 1951; and
  • Descendants of the above categories

Why 1951?

  • During the Assam agitation, the demand was for detection and deportation of migrants who had illegally entered Assam after 1951. The Assam Accord, however, set the cut-off at March 24, 1971. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was updated based on this cut-off.

Issues

  • Clause 6 is meant to give the Assamese people certain safeguards, which would not be available to migrants between 1951 and 1971.If the recommendation is accepted, those who migrated between 1951 and 1971 would be Indian citizens under the Assam Accord and NRC, but they would not be eligible for safeguards meant for “Assamese people”.
  1. Key Safeguards Recommended by the Panel

Reservation

  • 80 to 100% reservation in the parliamentary seats of Assam, Assembly seats and local body seats be reserved for the “Assamese people”.
  • 80 to 100% of Group C and D level posts (in Assam) in central government/semi-central government/central PSUs/private sector
  • 80 to 100% of jobs under Government of Assam and state government undertakings; and 70 to 100% of vacancies arising in private partnerships

Land Rights

  • Land rights, with restrictions imposed on transferring land by any means to persons other than “Assamese people”.

Language

  • Assamese language shall continue to be official language throughout the state with provisions for use of local languages in Barak Valley, Hill Districts and the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts.
  • Mandatory provision of an Assamese language paper for recruitment in state government services with alternatives for Barak Valley districts, BTAD and Hills Districts.
  • To set up Academies for all-round development of each of the indigenous tribal languages including, Bodo, Mishing, Karbi, Dimasa, Koch-Rajbongshi, Rabha, Deuri, Tiwa, Tai and other indigenous languages.