STAFF REPORTER GUWAHATI, Jan 10 - Litterateurs and former presidents of Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Nagen Saikia and Rongbong Terang – nominated members of the high-level committee formed by the Centre for implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord – have refused to be a part of the panel.
Dr Nagen Saikia, Rongbong Terang
In a letter to the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr Saikia expressed his inability to be a part of the committee and said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was against the secular spirit of the country.
In the letter, Dr Saikia said discussing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord by keeping aside Clause 5 would be a meaningless exercise. He said if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed, Assam would lose its linguistic and cultural identity. He questioned how without bringing a Bill in the Parliament and getting it passed, the government would do something for reservation of seats in the Assam Legislative Assembly for the Assamese people and how the government would protect the Assamese and other indigenous languages of the State.
Dr Saikia said that the point (e) of the notification itself was a misleading one. The Government of India should take appropriate steps to ensure employment of the Assamese people under the Central government, without making reference to the Government of Assam.
“I consider this effort of the Govt. of India to constitute such a Committee just at the fag end of the tenure of the continuing Government, is nothing but to befool the people of Assam. I oppose such stand of the Government,” he added.
He further said that the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) was an important party of the Assam Accord. “But the AASU has already declared its decision not to take part in the Committee. I think the Committee without the representative of AASU would not be a complete one to function to arrive at decisions for which it is constituted,” he added.
Terang, while expressing his inability to be a member of the panel, said that there was little point in staying at a committee which did not have any representation from the AASU, a signatory to the Assam Accord.
“It does not make any sense to talk about Assam Accord implementation without the AASU’s involvement. The student body has to be there for the purpose. My conscience has barred me from being a part of the committee,” he said, adding that his bad health condition too factored in his decision in quitting the panel.