Assam Numbers in List Show Footprint of Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Plans

On July 16, 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced the reconstitution of a ‘high level committee’ to implement Clause 6, a salient section of the Assam Accord.

The clause is designed to provide ‘constitutional safeguards” to the “Assamese people” and its importance had come to the fore in the wake of the Modi government’s stated desire to amend the Citizenship Act to make it easier for Bangladeshi Hindu migrants settled in Assam to become Indian nationals. The move, predictably had triggered protests within the state.

The re-formed committee was headed by a new chairman – retired Gauhati High Court Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma – and saw an increase in the number of members from nine to 12.

Among the new members was Samujjal Bhattacharjee, advisor to the All Assam Students Union (AASU), a signatory to the Accord with the Union government in 1985 which was meant to put an end to the anti-foreigner agitation that the powerful student body had spearheaded. It is because of this Accord that Assam has a spelt-out exclusive citizenship cut-off date – March 24, 1971 – unlike the rest of India, based on which the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for the state was updated in August 2019.

Tucked away in the leaked list of thousands of phone numbers that were analysed by Pegasus Project partners, is one that belongs to Bhattacharjee.

— source | Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty | 21/Jul/2021

Nullius in verba


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