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Opposition protests in Assam assembly; governor stops speech

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By PTI Updated: Jan 13, 2020 10:14 pm
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Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi and Congress party legislators hold placards during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act during a special session of the Assam Legislative Assembly, on Monday in Guwahati.(PTI)

Guwahati, Jan. 13 (PTI): The opposition Congress and AIUDF on Monday shouted slogans against the BJP-led government in Assam in the state Assembly during the address of Governor Jagdish Mukhi forcing him to end his speech abruptly.

As soon as the governor began his address at the one-day special session, opposition members stood up and protested against the new citizenship law and deaths of five persons in police firing during anti-CAA protests in the state during the previous month.

Carrying posters and placards, MLAs of the Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) trooped to the well of the House and started shouting slogans.

The governor’s voice could not be heard in the din and he ended his address within minutes. Speaker Hiten Goswami announced Mukhi’s speech to be taken as read.

In his speech made available to the media, the governor said his government has given top priority to safeguard the rights of the indigenous people and preserve their identity and heritage.

“In order to safeguard the rights of the indigenous people over land, my government has adopted a new Land Policy and also brought a law to protect the rights of the indigenous people of the state over land,” the governor said.

The Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 has been amended to facilitate removal of encroachment from all religious institutions like Sattras (15th century monasteries set up by Vaishnavite polymath of Assam Srimanta Sankar Deb), he added.

Mukhi also said the Centre has also set up a high- level committee to suggest measures for the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and the panel is expected to submit its report shortly.

The clause provides constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguard to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

The Assam government has also taken up an ambitious programme, “Bhasa Gaurav Achoni”, to preserve and promote Assamese and other indigenous languages, Mukhi said.

He said the government will also bring a legislation to make it mandatory to teach the Assamese language as a compulsory subject in English medium and other schools soon.

The governor also said the government has taken a number of steps to fulfil aspirations of various ethnic communities of the state.

Mukhi said the government has been able to script a new development narrative for the state which has witnessed tremendous push in the infrastructure sector – roads, bridges, schools, colleges, medical colleges, housing, etc.

The government has also implemented welfare programmes such as old-age pension, disability pension, widow pension, housing for poor, cooking gas connections, electricity connections and food security.

Assam assembly ratifies Bill to extend SC/ST reservation for 10 years
The Assam Assembly on Monday unanimously ratified the Constitution (126th) Amendment Bill, extending quota to SCs/STs in Lok Sabha and state legislatures by another 10 years.

A special one-day session of the assembly was held to pass a resolution ratifying the bill cleared by both Houses of Parliament.

After receiving approval of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the bill needs to be endorsed by 50 per cent of the assemblies before it comes into force.

Moving the proposal in the assembly, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal sought the support of all the legislators, as he said, the constitutional amendment would ensure socio- economic uplift of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

He also spoke about various schemes undertaken by his government for the welfare of SC/ST students.

Leader of the opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia of the Congress, Asom Gana Parishad’s Bhaben Bharali, Bodo People’s Front’s Kamal Singh Narzary and AIUDF’s Hafiz Bashir spoke supporting the resolution.

Govt. orders probe into Social Studies book discrepancies
The state government ordered an enquiry on Monday after some chapters of the Class 7 Social Studies textbook for Assamese medium schools were found to be in other languages.

Additional Chief Secretary (Education) Maninder Singh would inquire into the circumstances regarding discrepancies in the textbook and the report have to be submitted within seven days, an official statement said.

The discrepancies first came to light in two schools of Majuli district.

The state government has also directed that an FIR be filed against the printing press, Gigabytes Press and Publication of Nagaon, which was given the responsibility of printing the book.

The Education Department has also been directed to issue show cause notices against state-level, district-level and block-level officers along with the heads of schools, who were responsible for supervision and distribution of the textbooks.

The government has also issued instructions to all the district-level education officers and teachers to meticulously check the textbooks and inform any discrepancies, if found, well beforehand so that they can be replaced.

Further, the Assam Textbook Production and Publication Board has been directed to go through necessary checking and re-examination before distribution of textbooks.

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By PTI Updated: Jan 13, 2020 10:14:28 pm