Include land as subject for Clause 6 implementation: Forum

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Anti-influx forum, Prabajan Virodhi Manch has taken exception to the fact that the constitution of the committee under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord has not included land in its terms of reference as a subject and basis for protection of indigenous people.
The Centre had earlier this week formed a high-level committee to suggest measures for implementation of Clause 6 Assam Accord which envisages constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards for protection, preservation and promotion of cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of Assamese people.
“The Assam Accord was signed by both central and state governments and all subjects of legislation, both under Parliament and the Assam legislature, come within its domain, including land. It is therefore imperative to include land as a subject and the fundamental basis for protecting the identity of the indigenous people,” Manch convener, Upamanyu Hazarika said in a statement issued here on Saturday.
Hazarika said that under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, legal and constitutional safeguards were to be provided to safeguard the identity of the Assamese people.
“With the current estimate of 80 lakh foreigners in Assam, of whom 40 lakh have been excluded from the complete draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), and a significantly smaller number likely to be excluded from the final list, it is clear that NRC alone cannot prevent indigenous people from becoming a minority,” he said.
“The only reason for which infiltration occurs is the hunger for land by Bangladeshis who have already encroached lakhs of bighas in middle and lower Assam and encroached upon 4 lakh hectares of forest land out of a total of 17 lakh hectares,” Hazarika alleged.
The Manch convener further said that indigenous people in the other states of the Northeast are protected from Bangladeshi infux as land is reserved for the local people.
“If land is reserved only for those whose names are in the NRC of 1951, most of the encroachers will not get any rights over land and are liable to be evicted,” he said.
Demand for NRC in Mizoram too
Except the Congress, all the local parties in Mizoram are demanding introduction of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the Christian-dominated state which shares border with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), in its manifesto for the Assembly elections in November last year, had promised that it would initiate the exercise of NRC in the state on the lines of Assam.
The MNF is a constituent North East Democratic Alliance, a BJP-floated grouping of non-Congress parties.
The MNF pledge came in the wake of several non-governmental organisations in Mizoram demanding an NRC to detect illegal immigrants after Assam published the final draft of the NRC in July last year.
Parties in Tripura
favour NRC
The major parties seeking introduction of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura include the ruling BJP, the Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Meghalaya-based National People’s Party (NPP), which was declared as a national party by the Election Commission last month.
Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), Tripura’s oldest tribal-based party, has already filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking NRC in Tripura.
Ruling BJP’s junior ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) has been campaigning for initiation of NRC in Tripura to check illegal infiltration and oust the foreigners.
The NRC exercise is being carried out in Assam under the directions and supervision of the Supreme Court.
Tripura Pradesh Congress President Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman said that NRC should be introduced in Tripura as per the mandate of the Constitution.
“NRC should not be introduced on religious basis. The government of India should declare National Refugee Policy. Before introducing the proposed Citizenship law, NRC should be enforced very judiciously,” Deb Barman told IANS. (With inputs from agencies)

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