NRC Assam final draft: What is Assam Accord of 1985 and how is it connected to National Register of Citizens?

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New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2018 1:57:04 PM

Assam Accord of 1985 that states all illegal foreigners who came to Assam after 1971 from Bangladesh irrespective of religion have to be deported. This accord also fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of their religion.

NRC ASSAM DRAFTThe final list of the NRC, which is being updated in Assam, will be published by December this year, the Home Ministry announced on Monday.

BJP President Amit Shah today launched a scathing attack on opposition parties over the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC), the final draft of which was released by the Registrar General of India (RGI), Sailesh, yesterday. Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Shah said that the “soul” of NRC lies in the ‘Assam Accord’. Shah asserted that people busy in criticizing NRC first realise the nitty-gritty of the Assam Accord. Assam Accord is a much-highlighted Memorandum of Settlement which was inked by representatives of Assam and the central governments in 1985 in presence of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Shah said that Rajiv Gandhi had on August 15 declared the Assam Accord.

Shah’s attack against the Opposition comes a day after the second draft NRC, a list of Assam’s citizens, was published with the exclusion of 40.7 lakh out of a total 3.29 crore applicants. The final list of the NRC, which is being updated in Assam, will be published by December this year, the Home Ministry announced on Monday.

What is Assam Accord?

In 1979, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had launched an agitation during which it demanded that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh be identified and deported. The protest turned violent and finally, the Assam Accord was signed on August 15, 1985 in New Delhi. Assam Accord of 1985 that states all illegal foreigners who came to Assam after 1971 from Bangladesh irrespective of religion have to be deported. This accord also fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of their religion.

Signatories to the Assam Accord included Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, President, All Assam Students Union, Bhrigu Kumar Phukan, General Secretary, All Assam Students Union, Biraj Sharma, Gen Secretary, All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, Representatives of Governments of India and Assam for Representatives of Assam Movement, R D Pradhan, Home Secretary, Government of India, P P Trivedi, Chief Secretary, Government of Assam and signed by former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The protest had ended after the accord and a new government was formed.

However, controversy erupted again following the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. Various groups in Assam alleged that the move will nullify the (key provisions/ key clauses) of the Assam Accord. A key amendment in the bill, however, seeks to grant citizenship to people without valid documents from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India.

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