The Importance Of Being Ahomese

The ghosts of the past are resurfacing. After nearly a decade where militancy occupied centre-stage, some of the questions raised during the anti-foreigners movement in the early ‘80s have once again come to the fore. According to aasu advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya, the recent tripartite meeting chaired by the joint secretary in the Union home ministry, G.K. Pillai, agreed in principle that those who figure in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (nrc) for Assam and their descendants would alone be regarded as “Assamese people”. In the seven districts where the nrc is not available, the meeting decided that the electoral rolls of 1952 would be taken as the base document.

“Under the proposal, only these two categories of people can avail of the proposed 100 per cent seat reservation for election to local bodies, the state assembly and the Lok Sabha,” says Bhattacharyya. The aasu proposal is in the context of Clause VI of the Assam Accord signed in August 1985. This clause states that the Centre would provide “constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”