Tripartite talks to review the implementation
of the Assam Accord
A tripartite talk with officials and representatives of Government of Assam, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and representatives of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) was held in New Delhi on 31.5.2000. The meeting was held to assess the progress in implementation of the 1985 Assam Accord. The discussion revolved around issues related to general socio-economic development of Assam, border management, problems emerging out of the influx of migrants from Bangladesh etc. with reference to the Assam Accord. Following is the text of the report as released by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Dr. P.D. Shenoy, Additional Secretary (Home), Ministry of Home Affairs. held a meeting with the office bearers of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the representatives of the Government of Assam in connection with the tripartite talks on 31.05.2000. The Govt. of India team comprises Shri G.K.Pillai, Joint Secretary (NE) and Shri Jatinderbir Singh, Director (Assam). Shri M.K. Barooah, Home Secretary, Assam along with senior officials of Govt. of Assam also attended the meeting. Shri Prabin Boro, President, AASU, Shri Amiya Kr. Bhuyyan, General Secretary, AASU Shri Samual Kumar Bhattacharya, Adviser, AASU along with senior office bearers participated in the deliberation. The meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere. The welcome speech of AS (H), MHA and the list of participants is annexed herewith.
The tripartite talks inter-alia focused on devising (a) effective border management for containing influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh; (b) strengthening of 'Prevention of' Infiltration of Foreigners Scheme in Assam; (c) consolidation of creation of second line of defence to check the illegal migrants (d) expediting the raising of 2 IR Bn in Assam, (e) facilitating the functioning of the Foreigners Tribunals constituted under the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983, and (f) Preservation and Updating of the National Register of Citizens.
The Govt. of Assam was urged upon to vigorously take follow-up action on the decisions taken in the meeting in a time bound manner. It was also assured that the Central Govt. will take all necessary measures to accelerate the socio-economic development of Assam. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the Chair.
On behalf of Government of India, I extend a warm welcome to the Office bearers of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the representatives of the Government of Assam to the tripartite talks on May 31, 2000. I also take this opportunity to reiterate the commitment of the Central Government for implementation of the Assam Accord.
Friends, the last few months have witnessed growing popular mandate for peace and development in Assam. In the general elections to the 13th Lok Sabha, more than 71% of the electorate had voted despite a boycott call of various militant outfits. This is a vivid example of popular faith in democracy. Similarly, nearly 750 militants have surrendered this year reflecting the urge of youth to return to the national mainstream. The Bodo Liberation Tigers have also come for peace negotiations within the Four Corners of the Constitution of India abjuring the cult of violence. As a goodwill gesture, the Government has suspended operations by security forces against the BLT. We fervently hope that other militant outfits will also realize the futility of violence in a democratic society and will soon return to the path of peaceful living.
Government of India have sanctioned the construction of balance 797 kms border roads and 2429 kms border fencing on the lndo-Bangladeshi border at a total cost of Rs. 1334 crores. The work on this project would start this year and would be completed by March 2007. Under this scheme, in Assam 77.5 kms. of road and 71.5 kms. of fence have been sanctioned at a tentative cost of Rs. 167 crores.
Friends, the Prime Minister visited Shillong leading a high level team consisting of Senior Union Cabinet Ministers to address the security and developmental needs of North-East on January 21-22, 2000. On January 22, Prime Minister announced Rs. 10,271 crore agenda for Socio-Economic Development in the North-East & Sikkim. This major national initiative, inter alia envisages (a) coverage of all the 446 blocks in the North-East under information technology programme in next two years with an allocation of Rs. 100 crores (b) Excise concession in new industrial policy to Numaligarh Refinery in Assam with an annual concession of around Rs.200 crores and (c) an allotment of Rs.30 crores per annum for next 3 years for the development of infrastructure and other facilities in the Bodo Autonomous Council Areas. This special focus on the development of Assam will certainly give a boost to infrastructural development in Assam.
'The flow of funds under the Non-lapsable pool has been further consolidated. An amount of Rs.20 crores has been sanctioned for installation of one lakh shallow tube-wells in Assam. The last meeting of the tripartite sub-committee on Clause VI and VII of the Assam Accord had taken place on April 10, 2000 at Guwahati. After the Committee submits its report further action will be taken.
I hope that the deliberations of this tripartite meeting will sharpen our focus on the developmental and social needs of Assam.
The Government of India is fully committed to the implementation of the Assam Accord, 1985. Various measures have been taken in this regard. These include, inter-alia, the following:
The Citizenship Act, 1955, Citizenship Rules, 1956 and Foreigners (tribunals) Order, 1964, were amended.
Eleven Tribunals under the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 have been created in Assam for Identifying foreigners of 1966-71 stream. 24,376 persons declared as foreigners by the Tribunals.
Special Registration officers have been appointed. Sanction was also accorded for the creation of 1280 additional posts under the prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners Scheme.
Sixteen Tribunals under the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 have been created in Assam.
A Sub-Committee involving representatives of Ministry of Law & Justice, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of Assam, All Assam Students Union (AASU) has been Constituted to examine the proposal submitted by AASU and Govt. of Assam under clause VI and VIl of the Assam Accord.
Inauguration of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati was inaugurated by Hon'ble President of India in November 1998. (A sum of Rs.18.05 crores has been released).
Jyoti Chitraban (Film) Studio at Guwahati at a cost of Rs.8.79 crores has been modernised and inaugurated b the Chief Minister, Assam in April 1999.
Numaligarh Refinery, set up at a cost of Rs.2,500 crores, and inaugurated by the Prime Minister in July, 1999
Two Central Universities, one at Tejpur and the other at Silchar, have been set up.
An IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) has been set up at Guwahati.
Rail-cum-road bridge at Jogighopa has been commissioned and inaugurated by Prime Minister in April 1998. This has opened road traffic from Jogighopa to Guwahati via South Bank of Brahmaputra.
Kathalguri Power Project 60 (MW) has been commissioned.
LPG Bottling Plan at Bongaigaon has been set up at an estimated cost of Rs.30.68 crores.
3 industrial growth centres at a cost of Rs.20 crores each have been sanctioned at Chariduar, Matia and Sonapur.
The power to issue citizenship certificates now vests only with the Central Government.
94% of sanctioned border fencing of 152.31 Kms has been completed on Assam-Bangladesh border.
Ex-gratia payment was made to the next of kin of persons killed in the course of the agitation.
Disciplinary cases against employees in connection with the agitation were reviewed.
In the matter of recruitment, orders were issued by the Central Government for relaxation in upper age limit upto a maximum of six years in the case of candidates who had ordinarily resided in the state of Assam during the period 1.1.1980 to 15.8.1985.
NSA detenues detained in connection with agitation were released.
Government have all along been most anxious to find a satisfactory solution to the problem of foreigners in Assam. The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parished (AAGSP) have also expressed their keenness to find such a solution.
The AASU through their Memorandum dated 2nd February 1980 presented to the late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, conveyed their profound sense of apprehensions regarding the continuing influx of foreign nationals into Assam and the fear about adverse effects upon the political, social, culture and economic life of the State.
Being fully alive to the genuine apprehensions of the people of Assam, the then Prime Minister initiated the dialogue with the AASU/AAGSP. Subsequently, talks were held at the Prime Ministers and Home Ministers level during the period 1980-83. Several rounds of informal talks were held during 1984. Formal discussions were resumed in March, 1985.
Keeping all aspects of the problem including constitutional and legal provisions, international agreements, national commitments and humanitarian considerations, it has been decided to proceed as follows:
5.1 For purposes of detection and deletion of foreigners, 1.1.1966 shall be the base data and year.
5.2 All persons who come to Assam prior to 1.1.1966, including those amongst them whose names appeared on the electoral rolls used in 1967 elections shall be regularised.
5.3 Foreigners who came to Assam after 1.1.1966 (inclusive) and upto 24th March, 1971 shall be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964.
5.4 Names of foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral rolls in force. Such persons will be required to register themselves before the Registration Officers of the respective districts in accordance with the provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1939.
5.5 For this purpose, Government of India will undertake suitable strengthening of the government machinery.
5.6 On the expiry of a period of ten years following the date of detection, the names of all such persons which have been deleted from the electoral rools shall be restored.
5.7 All persons who were expelled earlier, but have since reentered illegally into Assam shall be expelled.
5.8 Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.
5.9 The Government will give due consideration to certain difficulties expressed by the AASU/AAGSP regarding the implementation of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983.
Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
The Government take this opportunity to renew their commitment for the speedy all round economic development of Assam, so as to improve the standard of living of the people. Special emphasis will be placed on education and science and technology through establishment of national institutions.
8.1 The Government will arrange for the issue of citizenship certificates in future only by the authorities of the Central Government.
8.2 Specific complaints that may be made by the AASU/AAGSP about irregular issuance of Indian Citizenship Certificates (ICC) will be looked into.
The international border shall be made secure against future infiltration by erection of physical barriers like walls, barbed wire fencing and other obstacles at appropriate places. Patrolling by security forces on land and rivering routes all along the international border shall be adequately intensified. In order to further strengthen the security arrangements, to prevent effectively future infiltration, an adequate number of check posts shall be set up.
9.2 Besides the arrangements mentioned above and keeping in view security considerations, a road all along the international border shall be constructed as to facilitate patrolling by security forces. Land between border and the road would be kept free of human habitation, wherever possible. Riverine patrolling along the international border would be intensified. All effective measures would be adopted to prevent infiltrators crossing or attempting to cross the international border.
It will be ensured that relevant laws for prevention of encroachment of government lands in tribal belts and blocks are strictly enforced and unauthorized encroachers evicted as laid down under such laws.
It will be ensured that the relevant law restricting acquisition of immovable property by foreigners in Assam is strictly enforced.
It will be ensured that Birth and Death Registers are duly maintained.
Restoration of Normalcy
The All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the all Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) call off the agitation, assure full co-operation and dedicate themselves towards the development of the country.
The Central and the State Government have agreed to:
review with sympathy and withdraw cases of disciplinary action taken against employees in the context of the agitation and to ensure that there is no victimization;
frame a scheme for ex-gratia payment to next of kin of those who were killed in the course of the agitation;
give sympathetic consideration to proposal for relaxation of upper age limit for employment in public services in Assam, having regard to exceptional situation that prevailed in holding of academic and competitive examinations, etc., in the context of agitation in Assam;
undertake review of detention cases, if any, as well as cases against persons charged with criminal offences in connection with the agitation, except those charged with commission of heinous offences;
consider withdrawal of the prohibitory orders/ notifications in force, if any.
The Ministry of Home Affairs will be the nodal Ministry for the implementation of the above.
(Smt. P.P. Trivedi)
In the presence of
Date : 15th August, 1985
Place: New Delhi
Election Commission will be requested to ensure preparation of fair electoral rolls.
Time for submission of claims and objections will be extended by 30 days, subject to this being consistent with the Election rules.
The Election Commission will be requested to send Central Observers.
Oil refinery will be established in Assam.
Central Government will render full assistance to the State Government in their efforts to re-open: