Clause 6, Assam Accord: Fine line between ‘Indian citizen’ and ‘Assamese’
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Clause 6, Assam Accord: Fine line between ‘Indian citizen’ and ‘Assamese’

By Indianexpress   04 Jan 2019

Clause 6, Assam Accord: Fine line between ‘Indian citizen’ and ‘Assamese’

 the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to set up a high-level committee to look into the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said clause 6 “wasn’t fully implemented”. The move, which was announced ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Silchar Friday, comes at a time when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated and the Centre is trying to introduce a contentious Bill on citizenship. Why is Clause 6 significant, especially in the context of the NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016?
Part of the Assam Accord that came at the culmination of a movement against immigration from Bangladesh, Clause 6 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.” . For recognition as citizens, the Accord sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff. Former Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta, one of the signatories to the 1985 Accord as then All Assam Students Union (AASU) president, explained that immigrants up to the cutoff date would get all rights as Indian citizens. Therefore, he said, Clause 6 was inserted to safeguard the socio-political rights and culture of the “indigenous people of Assam”.

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