Himanta Biswa Sarma barred
Assam minister minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. | File image Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: The high-powered committee constituted by the Union home ministry for recommendation about the implementation of Assam accord submitted its report to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday at the CM’s residence in Kharguli hills, Guwahati.

The report was handed over to the CM by justice (Retd) Biplab Kumar Sarma, the chairman of the committee, in a sealed envelope. This report will now be submitted to the Union home minister on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Addressing the media, Justice Sarma said that the report was submitted within the time frame given to the panel. He mentioned that the panel had received communications specifying that the union home minister has desired submission of the report to him through the chief minister.

Clause 6 of the Assam Accord envisages that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the ethnic Assamese.

A high level committee was set up by the Union home ministry on July 15, 2019, to recommend constitutional safeguards to protect the interests of the ethnic Assamese within six months. However, the term of the high-level committee had to be extended by a month up to February 15, 2020.

Interacting with the media, state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the report has been submitted in sealed covers. “The report has not been seen by us [state] or the Centre so far. The report has to be seen, it has to be considered, it has to be examined in the light of the constitution and the laws of the land.”

Commenting on AASU leaders who are members of the committee and chose to skip the function, the state minister said, “As long as we have got the report, we are fine by that. Who boycotted, who did not boycott, we are not concerned about that. We are concerned about the report, we got the report. Now the content of the report will be examined.”

Regarding the ‘definition’ of Assamese, Sarma said that the state assembly has to deliberate on the definition suggested by the expert panel. He added that only when Assam Assembly gives its seal of approval, the definition will stand legal scrutiny.

He added that the implementation process can only be fast-tracked if Assam Assembly facilitates that process.

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