Guwahati: In a major push for the uplift of indigenous minorities in Assam, seven sub-committees, constituted for drawing a roadmap for the all-round development of indigenous people from the minority communities in the state, submitted their recommendations to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Thursday.

The state government had last year constituted sub-committees on cultural identity, health, education, skill development, population stabilisation, financial inclusion and women empowerment.

The sub-groups were formed after threadbare discussions between the chief minister and about 150 leading personalities from indigenous minority communities across various fields in regard to outlining the way forward for the overall development of the indigenous minorities in Assam.

An ACS officer from the Assam government also formed a part of each sub-group as member secretary.

Making the recommendations in regard to identity of indigenous Assamese Muslims, chairman of the sub-committee on cultural identity, Wasbir Hussain said that the state government, through a notification, could recognise the Assamese Muslims as an indigenous Assamese-speaking community of Assam.

“The five sub-groups of Assamese Muslims – Syed, Goriya, Moriya, Deshi and Julha – should be clearly mentioned and recognised in the government notification,” Hussain said.

He further recommended that a separate directorate/authority needed to be set up for Assamese Muslims to provide necessary documentation to the people of the community to reflect their distinct identity.

“The Assam government may undertake a census to identify and document the Assamese Muslim community,” he said.

On political representation, Hussain suggested that a provision similar to Article 333 of the Indian Constitution may be enacted to provide representation of Assamese Muslims in Parliament and Assam Legislative Assembly.

“An Upper House (Legislative Council) may be created in Assam as per Article 169 of the Indian Constitution. Once the Legislative Council is formed, specific number of seats may be reserved for Assamese Muslim community in this council,” he suggested.

The chairman of the sub-group on cultural identity further suggested that an Azaan Pir Kalakhetra may be established in Guwahati to showcase the life and work of Azaan Pir.

“The same Kalakhetra may house auditoriums, library, etc., in the name of other prominent Assamese Muslim personalities. For example, an Ali Mech Library or a Bagh Hazarika Auditorium may be set up,” he said.

Hussain also recommended release of financial grants for the preservation and promotion of Azaan Pir Dargah at Saraguri Chapori in Sivasagar as a historical and tourist site.

“The Azaan Pir Award (which was introduced by the Assam government in 2004) may be revived by the state government. Books on the life and works of Azaan Pir may be published by Assam Publication Board,” he said.

Among other recommendations, he suggested that prominent Assamese Muslim personalities needed to be popularised and the Syed Abdul Malik Literary Award (given only once in 2015) resumed.

Reacting to the proposals from the sub-groups, chief minister Sarma said the proposals submitted by the sub-committees have been accepted by the government and that most of them appear to be implementable.

“We will examine the recommendations before moving forward. The definition given by the sub-committee in regard to indigenous Assamese Muslim appears to be in the positive direction because once it is accepted, the target group, the area, population, etc., will be known and measures taken,” the chief minister said.

“Thereafter, a legislative mechanism will have to be in place followed by administrative decisions and financial support for implementation of the recommendations in the short, mid and long terms,” Sarma said.

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