Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday met with members of a high-level panel that was formed by his ministry for recommendations on implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985. It deals with the longstanding promise of the centre to safeguard the indigenous communities of the state.
Four from the 14-member committee, led by its chairman retired Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma, met Mr Shah and briefed' him on the status of the recommendation report that they are preparing after consultations with stakeholders in Assam.
The committee is said to have informed the Home Minister that they will submit the recommendation within 10 to 15 days. The term of the committee will end on January 15.
Apart from Justice Sarma, academician Mrinal Miri, Subhash Das, IAS (retired) and Ramesh Borpatragohain, Advocate General of Assam, were part of the meeting on Monday.
"In today's meeting, four members were there. We will go to Guwahati and after Bihu festival we will meet the members and discuss with them details of the New Delhi meeting. The centre have made some suggestions. This meeting was in connection with seeking suggestions from the centre, for we had already sought suggestions from different stakeholders including state government. After meeting the members we will have an action plan ready," Justice Sarma told reporters in Delhi.
Facing a massive back lash over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Assam, the BJP is pitching the promise of constitutional safeguard for the indigenous Assamese communities as a plank to win back people's trust and erase the "Bangladeshi takeover" fear that seems to have triggered the ongoing anti-CAA protests in Assam, party sources added.
Although the implementation of safeguards of Assam Accord has no direct links, members from the All Assam Students Union who have led the anti CAA-movement and who are also a part of the committee skipped the Monday meeting with the centre.
"They went forward and passed the bill, notified the controversial law so we did not go for the meeting since there is no point in meeting Amit Shah. But we are very much part of Clause 6 committee. The centre and the state government are trying to confuse people in the name of Clause 6... There cannot be bargaining between Clause 6 and CAA," AASU adviser Sammujal Bhatatcharya told NDTV.
Sources told NDTV that the following recommendations are more or less finalised: defining who is indigenous in Assam, reservation of seats in parliament for indigenous Assamese and also in Assam assembly for indigenous communities and formation of upper house in the state, among others.