Guwahati, Jan. 10 (IANS): Days after the Home Ministry set up a high-level committee to ensure implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, four members of the panel refused to join the nine-member panel.
Eminent literary figures Nagen Saikia and Rong Bong Terang, former editor Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah and the All Assam Students Union (AASU) have declined to be part of the committee.
The refusal of the four took place at a time when Assam has been witnessing major protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 which seeks to give Indian citizenship to six minority groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“The clause 6 committee is cabinet constituted committee and not a bill. So, once the government changes at the Centre, the recommendation of the committee will not mean anything. Earlier, I thought I will participate in the committee and give some recommendations for protection of indigenous people,” said Nagen Saikia.
“I think by keeping this committee in front, the government wants the Citizenship bill to be passed,” said Saikia, a former president of the Asom Sahitya Sabha, the apex literary body of Assam.
“When AASU, which was a signatory to the Assam Accord, has refused to be a part of the committee, there is no question that I should be a part,” said Terang, who also presided over the Asom Sahitya Sabha in the past.
The Home Ministry-instituted committee nominated one member of AASU as the committee member. The student body refused to be a part until the Constitutional bill was scrapped.
Senior journalist and former editor of The Sentinel, Bezbaruah, has also told the government his inability to join the committee.
“I thank the government for appointing me as member but it will be better if the government leaves me out as I am getting old and trying to reduce my engagements,” Bezbaruah said.
The Home Ministry had issued the notification constituting the committee with retired IAS officer M.P. Bezbaruah as the Chairman to ensure implementation of Clause 6 of the historical Assam Accord.