Aasu seeks special constitutional status for Assam

GUWAHATI: The All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) on Monday sought protection of indigenous communities of the state from illegal influx.

Staging protests across the state, the students' body also demanded special status for Assam and cent per cent representation of indigenous Assamese people in the assembly, parliamentary seats from the state and in local bodies.

It also demanded that the government ensure rights of the Assamese people over land and the natural resources of the state.

"To safeguard the interests of the indigenous people of Assam in this hour of crisis, there is no other alternative than a special constitutional status for the state with rights over land and its natural resources," said Aasu adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya at a news conference here on Monday.

He said the government should not delay in reserving all legislative assembly, parliamentary seats from the state and seats in local bodies for the indigenous people. "Like SCs and STs, the government must ensure representation of indigenous people all over the state," Bhattacharyya added.

Bhattacharyya also slammed the Centre for failing to provide constitutional safeguard to the Assamese people, though it (the Centre) had assured the same to the students' body in 1985 while signing the historic Assam accord.

The Aasu adviser demanded that the Centre give separate employment zone status to the northeast to address the issue of unemployment.

The union also attacked retired IPS officer KPS Gill, who had recently said in Tezpur that Khargeswar Talukdar, the first martyr of Assam agitation, had died after falling into a pond and not due to baton charge by police. "Gill's statement is an insult to the martyr's sacrifice. Talukdar died when he was beaten up by policemen when he was protesting in Bhawanipur in Barpeta district demanding boycott of election," Bhattacharyya said.

"The inner line permit system should be in place in all the seven northeastern states to protect the interests of the indigenous communities of the region," said Aasu general secretary Tapan Kumar Gogoi.

He said from November 19 to 25, the students' body will stage protests against price rise and on November 26, their activists will take out a torch rally across Assam.