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Upamanya Hazarika Fears Ethnicity and Rights of the Locals in Assam is at Stake

Upamanya Hazarika Fears Ethnicity and Rights of the Locals in Assam is at Stake

On Monday, the anti-influx group Prabajan Virodhi Manch said representatives of the people should first have given their views on constitutional safeguards to the high-level committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord so that the committee's efforts are not futile.

“At the first instance, the chief minister, MPs, and MLAs should have advanced their proposal regarding constitutional safeguards to the committee and then the public could have given their suggestions. Regardless of what the public may suggest or the committee may propose, if the government doesn’t want to implement it, it will be an exercise in futility,” Manch convener and Supreme Court lawyer Upamanyu Hazarika said.

 

“We appeal to the committee to first seek the views of the government as only then their exercise will be meaningful. Otherwise, it might be conveniently discarded,” Hazarika said.

The panel, which was founded in July this year by the Center, in Assam, took suggestions from individuals and organizations.

The Manch also sent last month's suggestions saying the protections should be in two phases and two grades.

“In the first stage, it is necessary to reserve land, employment, trade license and higher education opportunities for citizens who were residents of Assam till 1951 and their progeny. This will correct the imbalance and injustice to the people of Assam for taking the burden of additional migrants for 23 years. This will ensure that all resources in Assam will be reserved only for those who were citizens till 1951 and not for those who became citizens after 1951,” Hazarika said.

Hazarika said there are more than 115 ethnic communities in Assam, some of whom, like Tai Phake and Tai Khamyang, have 5,000 inhabitants, while others, like Koch Rajbongshis and Tea Tribes, have 60 lakh.

“In the second stage, each of these communities has to be enabled to secure their identity and existence,” he added.

Hazarika said that while the land is the key issue and the main reason for migration (from Bangladesh to Assam) and must first be reserved for indigenous peoples, the high-level committee has not yet been given the authority and authority to make recommendations on land and trade licenses without which any safeguard is meaningless.

“The political class is only interested in the reservation of constituencies for indigenous people to perpetuate themselves even when the state becomes dominated by Bangladeshis,” he said.


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