Taken up by Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha, What is Clause 6 of the Assam Accord?


New Delhi: While tabling the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah slammed the Congress for not implementing the guidelines under Clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord of 1985.

The treaty, which was signed between the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the All Assam Students Union (AASU) to cool off protests during the Assam Agitation between 1979-95, included Clause 6 fulfilling one of the demands of the protesting students to protect Assam from the invasion of foreign culture and language.

Clause 6 seeks to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

"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," it reads in the Accord.

During his speech in the Rajya Sabha, Shah said, “"In 1985, the Assam accord happened. There is a provision in clause 6 to protect the indigenous culture of the state. From 1985 to 2014, the committee was not constituted for Clause 6. I want to assure that NDA Government through committee to supervise clause 6 will protect rights of Assam. We have constituted the Committee and All Assam Students' Union is part of the committee. I want them to send a report of the Committee quickly.”

The home ministry, earlier in July, reconstituted the high-level committee to implement the Clause 6 of the Accord. The committee now has a new chairman and has increased the number of members from 9 to 12.

The committee was originally constituted in January 2019, following which, four of the nine members declined to be part of it.

Eminent litterateurs Nagen Saikia and Rongbong Terang, both former presidents of premier literary body Assam Sahitya Sabha, and academician Mukunda Rajbongshi, decided to opt out of it.

The then chairman and former union tourism secretary, MP Bezbaruah, had also refused to be part of it. He was the fifth member among the nine who refused to be a part of it.

So far, Clause 6 has been implemented by establishing the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra Society for the preservation of culture; the Jyoti Bhitraban Film Studio was set up for the promotion of Assamese films; financial assistance has been granted to a number of Sastras and the Archaeological Survey of India has been asked to protect, preserve and promote historical monuments.