Cut-off year row: Himanta ‘habitual liar’, says Gogoi

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Jan 20: Lashing out at finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his recent comment on cut-off date senior Congress leader and former chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday said Sarma is trying to mislead and confuse the people on Assam Accord.

“Himanta is a habitual liar,” Gogoi said and alleged that Sarma had lied in the Assembly about the Assam Accord despite submitting an affidavit in the Supreme Court with 1971 as the cut-off year for detecting and deporting illegal immigrants.

Gogoi’s comments came a day after the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had made similar allegations against Sarma, saying he had lied in the Assembly by claiming there was no mention of March 24, 1971 cut-off date in the Accord.

On January 13, Sarma had said in the Assembly that the amended Citizenship Act does not violate the Assam Accord, but is aimed at addressing the “unresolved” issues of the pact.

“The Assam Accord didn’t speak about children of those coming before 1971, so it’s inconclusive,” Sarma had said.

“The Assam Accord is not that bad. If we had read it properly, 1966 would have been the cut off year and 1967 voter list would have been the NRC. I regret that,” he had claimed citing clauses 5.1 to 5.7 of the pact.

“Himanta Biswa Sarma lied in the Assembly that the Accord did not say anything about 1971. Lying is his habit. What more can we expect when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi lies on everything,” Gogoi told reporters here.

Sarma is misleading the people of Assam to deviate the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, he said.

“Himanta himself had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court on July 14, 2015 on fixing 1971 as base year for the NRC update work. It is strange that now he is saying that there is no mention of 1971 in the Accord,” Gogoi said.

He asked how were the Foreigners’ Tribunals conducting trials for suspected illegal immigrants coming to Assam after March 24, 1971 if there was no mention of the cut-off date in Assam Accord.

Sarma did not mention Clause 5.8 of the Accord which says, “Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.”

AASU chief adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya had on Sunday demanded that Sarma and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal apologise to the people for providing “wrong explanation” about the Accord at the one-day special session of the Assembly on January 13.

A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the AASU in 1979. It had culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.  (With agencies inputs)

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