Aasu fast against govt failure to implement accord

GUWAHATI/JORHAT: Twenty-eight years have passed since the Assam Accord was signed between the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and leaders of the Assam Movement led by PrafullaMahanta on 15 August 1985, but the accord has still not been implemented in its true letter and spirit. The prime objective of the accord, which resulted from a six-year-long student movement, was to free Assam from illegal infiltration from neighbouring Bangladesh.

To mark the failure of the government in implementing the accord, the All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) on Wednesday started a hunger strike across the state.

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president and two-time chief minister Mahanta, who was a signatory of the accord, also blamed the government for inaction. "The Indo-Bangla border is still porous. Even after so many years, the government yet to seal the border. And instead of making a treaty to deport infiltrators, the government is trying to give our land to Bangladesh," alleged Mahanta. He said AGP would continue to press the Centre for implementation of the accord.

Aasu adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjee, who went on a fast since 6am on Wednesday, said Aasu would continue the fast till the flag-hoisting ceremony at Lal Quila in New Delhi on Independence Day on Thursday.

"On August 15, 1985, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had announced after hoisting the Tricolour that the Assam Accord was signed to make Assam influx-free. After 28 years, the accord still hasn't been implemented. Now even members of fundamentalists groups and Pakistani insurgents are sneaking into the country through the porous Indo-Bangla border. This hunger strike makes mockery of that promise," said Bhattacharjee.

"If we add the six years of the movement, then it will be 34 years that the people of Assam are waiting for an influx-free state. How long do we have to wait? Aasu demands that the government announce a time-bound action plan now," he added.

Aasu organizing general secretary Sarat Hazarika said in Jorhat, "We want the provisions of the Assam Accord to be implemented fully within a specific period of time. We demand a constitutional safeguard for the indigenous people of Assam to ensure their protection." In Jorhat, Aasu members staged a fast in front of DC's office.

In every district, 30 activists of the organization are staging the fast. On May 5, 2005, the state government and the Centre in a tripartite talk assured Aasu that border fencing would be done within a year and the National Register of Citizens would be updated, but it still hasn't been done.

Already, several organisations have moved the Supreme Court against the government's delay in implementing the Assam Accord and the apex court has asked the government to reply on its inaction.