Govt reconstitutes panel to assess quantum of seats to be reserved in Assam Assembly

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Panel for implementation of clause VI of Assam Accord

NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI):The Centre has reconstituted a high-level committee to assess the quantum of seats to be reserved in the Assam Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people, besides providing other safeguards.

The high-level committee, to be headed by former Gauhati High Court judge Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma (retd), was set up as per the Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord, the home ministry said on Tuesday.

As per the Terms of Reference for the Committee, it will examine the effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, hold discussions with various stakeholders, including social organisations, legal and constitutional experts, eminent persons from the field of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists.

“The committee will assess the appropriate level of reservation of seats in Assam Legislative Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people. The committee will also suggest measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam,” a notification issued by the ministry said.

The committee had to be reconstituted as the earlier one announced on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections could not function as most of the members refused to be part of it in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which they said posed a threat to Assamese culture and identity.

The new committee will recommend the appropriate level of reservations in employment under the government of Assam for the Assamese people and suggest any other measures as may be necessary to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social and the linguistic identity and the heritage of the people.

The committee will submit its report within six months from the date of notification.

The members of the committee are Ramesh Borpatragohain, Advocate General, Assam, Niloy Dutta, Advocate General, Arunachal Pradesh, Subhash Das, IAS (retd), Pallav Bhattacharya, IPS (retd), Srishtidhar Dutta, professor (retd), Sumanta Chaliha, author, Jaikanta Sharma, professor and columnist, and Wasbir Hussain, senior journalist.

Other members are Samujjal Bhattacharya, chief adviser, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Dipanka Kumar Nath, president, AASU, Lurinjyoti Gogoi, general secretary, AASU. Joint Secretary (North East) in the Ministry of Home Affairs will be the member secretary.

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