RESPONSE TO DR HIMANTA BISWA SARMA PRESS CONFERENCE ON 06 JANUARY 2019
A detailed press conference by Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and setting out what the committee is going to recommend yesterday — Dr. Sarnia has sold a dream, a dream of every indigenous for last 40 years but comes with a significant condition. Its fulfilment will be in the next Lok Sabha and the next Government accordingly formed. However, the present Government and Lok Sabha will pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill with will be a concrete step by them during their tenure, while the indigenous have to live with their dreams until the next Lok Sabha and Government. which is never certain.
Similar promises to protect identity of indigenous people have been made in 2014 and 2016 elections, but now the promise is to implement the earlier promises made after the next elections. While indigenous in Assam have to bear the brunt of additional immigrants during the tenure of the present Government, but safeguards promised are still promises for yet another election.
He has also elaborately set out what the committee is going to recommend, amendment to Article 371, adopt the definition of indigenous as given by then Speaker Pranab Gogoi Committee, that at the minimum 1951 has to be the base year for determining indigenous identity and can even be earlier. This only proves that they know what is required to be done. have chosen not to take the actions outlined by the minister and only sold off a dream. This raises a question as to why when the Government has been so sure of what requires to be done, why has it not been done? And why not do it before this election? And particularly so when priority is given to protection of foreigners of other countries coming into India. This only proves what we said yesterday that when the Government choses not to do anything. it is referred to a committee but when it has the will, it acts directly by placing a Bill as in the case of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh. Interests of immigrants/foreigners are considered superior over the interests of the indigenous.
The sum and substance of Dr. Sarma's press conference is that — concrete steps in favour of migrants will be taken during the tenure of this Government and this Lok Sabha, but indigenous who are on the way to become a minority will have to live with promises of implementation of earlier election promises after the next election. Also, he has not dealt with the issue of what the present State Government could have done in the last two and half years and which the Manipur Assembly has done i.e.. reserve land, employment, trade licences etc. for indigenous communities those residing in Manipur prior to 1951. In any case, the power to legislate and bring policies on land in terms of the Constitution of India rests with the State Legislature and State Govemment and which Union Cabinet has clarified on 2nd of January, 2019 and for which reason land has been excluded from the Committee constituted under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
Indigenous voted for the BJP to protect their identity, leaders have used this vote to protect their own identity.
Issued by Upamanyu Hazarika, Convenor, Prabajan Virodhi Manch