Assam CM meets Union Home Minister, discusses peace talks, NRC

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday evening met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and updated him on the ongoing peace process with militant outfits, including the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I).

Sarma, who arrived here on Monday afternoon from Guwahati, also discussed the status of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) with Shah.

The over three hour long meeting meeting at Shah’s residence also deliberated on the pending projects in Assam.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Sarma said that he has been given full responsibility to start the preliminary talks with the Paresh Barua faction of ULFA-I.

On the NRC, he said that it was unanimously decided that the Centre will support the stand of the Assam government at the Supreme Court. However, the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter will be paramount, he added.

Responding to a question on the recent decision made by the Foreigners Tribunal at Karimganj which opined that the draft NRC was final, he said that its members “did not read the Supreme Court directives in this regard. Otherwise, it would abstain from delivering such type of disputable orders”.

The final list of NRC was published on August 31, 2019 which excluded 19.6 lakh people of the state while 3.11 crore people were included.

Sarma, then the Assam Finance Minister, had then said the final NRC had failed to fulfil the aspiration of the people of Assam. “There were many gaps and spaces and we have already pointed out in public and various forums. Various social organisations of Assam have already filed petitions before the Supreme Court seeking review of the present process. The present NRC process should be scrapped. We should be a part of the national NRC process,” he had said.

Sarma also said that as Assam Chief Minister, he does not have any role in the peace talk with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) but as the Chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), he will discuss all the issues pertaining to the region.

Recently, he had played a crucial role in bringing the these ultras to the peace talks and this was apparent in ceasefire agreement between the Centre and Niki Sumi-led Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) on September 8, while on September 4, 2021, the tripartite ‘Karbi Peace Accord’ was signed, bringing an end to the decade-long agitation.