A high-level committee, set up by the Home Ministry to suggest ways for providing constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people of Assam, on Monday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and discussed with him issues related to its work.
A four-member delegation of the committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Biplab Kumar Sharma, met the home minister for an hour and briefed him about the progress of its work.
“We have apprised the home minister about the progress of our work. The home minister has given a few suggestions. We hope to submit our final report within next 15 days,” Sharma told reporters here.
The committee with more than a dozen members was set up as per the Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord.
According to its terms and conditions, “The committee will assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people.”
“The committee will recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the government of Assam for the Assamese people,” according to a home ministry notification.
Asked whether the panel could finalise the “definition of Assamese”, the retired judge said they were yet to take a decision on it and hope to come to a conclusion soon.
“All members of the committee will soon meet to finalise the report and all remaining issues to be resolved,” he said.
The meeting took place four days after Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met the home minister and discussed with him various aspects of the Assam Accord’s Clause 6, under which the central government had promised to provide constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people.
The committee is said to have completed its deliberations and discussions with various stakeholders in Assam.
The meeting was held amidst widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Assam. It bears significance as there has been a growing feeling among the indigenous people of Assam that the newly enacted legislation will hurt their interests both politically, culturally as well as socially.
The Assam Accord provides for detection and deportation of all illegal immigrants, who have entered the country after 1971 and living in the state, irrespective of their religion.
According to CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The protesters in Assam said that the CAA violates the provisions of Assam Accord.