Guwahati, Dec 10 (IANS) The Assam government on Saturday honoured the family members of 855 martyrs of the Assam agitation at a massive function in Guwahati and reiterated the commitment of the government to protect the indigenous people of Assam by giving them constitutional safeguards.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal reiterated the BJP-led government’s commitment while speaking at the function organised by the government to honour the family members of the 855 martyrs of the six year-long Assam agitation, the non-violent students’ movement that sought to detect and deport illegal foreigners from Assam and put an end to the infiltration from Bangladesh.
It is for the first time that the state government has organised a function to honour the families of martyrs.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) that spearheaded the movement, observes December 10 every year as Shahid Divas (Martyrs Day) across the state.
The agitation, which was started in 1979, came to an end after the signing of the Assam Accord between the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and a delegation of AASU in 1985.
“The Assam Agitation was a non-violent democratic agitation to maintain the integrity of the country. Led by the students of the state, Assam agitation reflected the firmness of mentality of the people of Assam to the world leaders,” Sonowal said while addressing thousands of people at the Veterinary College Ground in Khanapara area of the city on Saturday.
“As per clause number 6 of Assam Accord, constitutional safeguard will be provided to all indigenous people of the state,” he said.
The government also gave Rs 5 lakh to the family members of the martyrs of the Assam movement on Saturday.
“There has been no evidence of such a long driven agitation based on Gandhian philosophy anywhere in the world. The agitation not only maintained the territorial integrity of Assam but also aimed at protecting the integrity and sovereignty of our country. So, Assam agitation needs to be evaluated in the real sense of the term and all have to make a coordinated effort,” Sonowal said.
“Assam agitation contributed greatly to strengthen the process of giving rise to a greater Assamese identity. If we want to let the seven hundred crore people of the world know about the Assam agitation, we have to protect the individuality and uniqueness of our tradition. If we are keen to show love towards our nation, the younger generation will have to make themselves aware of the Assam agitation,” he said.
Sonowal also assured that the government would take steps to preserve the ‘Martyrs Column’ located at several places in the state.
He said that a memorial will be constructed in the memory of the martyrs of the agitation.
“We need to accept the challenge from illegal foreigners and if we can go forward showing our truthfulness, honesty and devotion, we can very easily overpower their evil design. We need to safeguard all the ethnicities and sons of the soil. As public representatives we need to work for the betterment of the whole community,” Sonowal said.