GUWAHATI: The Union home ministry constituted high powered committee to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord became a non-starter after its chairperson and retired bureaucrat, M P Bezbaruah has refused to be part of the committee.

Bezbaruah told TOI on Saturday that he wrote to the home ministry that his position as the chairperson has become redundant after other members of declined to be part of the committee.

“I did not resign but wrote to the ministry that as other members are not part of the committee, it becomes non-functional. So my position as chairperson is redundant,” Bezbaruah said.

Earlier, four of the nine-member committee approved by the Union cabinet declined to be part of the committee. The four members included Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer, Nagen Saikia, former president of Assam Sahitya Sabha, Rongbang Terang, educationist Mukunda Rajbangshi and All Assam Student Union.

Saikia was sceptical about the efficacy of the committee announced “at the fag-end” of the central government’s term, while Terang said because of his poor health condition he would not be in a position to make a significant contribution by being part of the committee.

AASU had backed off from the committee citing that when implementation of Clause 5 is being threatened by the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, implementation of Clause 6 became meaningless.

Clause 5 of the Assam Accord signed in 1985 after six-year anti-foreigner movement, includes the cut-off date March 24, 1971 for detection and deportation of foreigners. The Clause 6 said about “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.”

Rajbangshi also refused to be part of the committee, had said that discussion on Clause 6 by the committee has become meaningless after the Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha.

Senior journalist and writer Dhiren Bezbaruah recently said that he wanted to remain in the committee to protest and point out what went wrong with it.

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