32 Years After Assam Accord: Implementation Yet To Be Taken Seriously?

A border fence between India and Bangladesh. (Shazia Rahman via Getty Images)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Assam, headed by Sarbananda Sonowal, has set up a separate office to implement the Assam Accord signed between the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in 1985, Hindustan Times has reported.

Successive state governments have been accused of going of slow on the implementation, which includes fencing the Indo-Bangladesh border, ending illegal immigration, deporting foreigners and updating the National Register of Citizens. According to the accord, anyone who entered the state after 1971 is considered an illegal resident.

A six-year long agitation against illegal migrants from Bangladesh led by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) concluded in 1985 with the signing of the accord between the Centre, the state government and the AASU. The mass movement saw 855 killed in police action and Sunday (10 December) marked the Shahid Diwas in memory of those who were killed during the protests.

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Sonowal, while attending a programme at the house of the agitation’s first victim said, “Assam agitation was a unique people’s movement, which was democratic and non-violent.”

“A separate office to implement the Accord would speed up the process that hasn’t seen much action. We hope all the provisions would get implemented soon,” the Chief Minister noted in his address.

Illegal immigration of Bangladeshis to Assam has been a burning issue in Assam and was picked up by BJP during the 2014 election campaign. The people have welcomed the BJP government’s efforts to deal with the situation. However, lot more needs to be done to ensure that the accord is properly executed.

“It’s fine to hold programmes, publish books, pay tributes and open offices. But the souls of the martyrs would find peace only when the Accord gets implemented,” said AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya.

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