Assam Accord polluted state’s politics, spawned insurgency: Book

New Delhi: The Assam Accord of 1985 didn’t bring permanent peace to the state and seemed to have delivered only discord and divisions, says a new book.
Signed between the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the leaders of the Assam Movement, the Accord polluted the politics of the state and spawned insurgency, claims Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty in her book Assam: The Accord, The Discord.
Pisharoty rues that the mainstream narrative in India rarely includes Assam, especially when it speaks of the two milestones that have defined the making of the modern Indian polity – the Partition and the Emergency.
“Both events had a bigger role to play than acknowledged in shaping the people and the politics of Assam. Perhaps it would not be entirely wrong to call the Assam Movement an offshoot of the politics that emerged from the Emergency,” she asserts.
“Yet another point to consider is the impact of the Bangladesh Liberation War on the border state. The country rejoiced at the creation of Bangladesh; it became a jewel on the crown of prime minister Indira Gandhi, but the exodus of refugees from across the border evoked old historical fears and triggered widespread unrest in Assam that went unrecorded, unheeded, in mainstream India.
A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the influential students’ organisation AASU in 1979.
It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of Rajiv Gandhi.
On December 24, 1985, for the first time in the state’s post-independent history, a regional party — the Asom Gana Parishad — assumed charge of the government with AASU president Prafulla Mahanta, as president of the newly formed party, becoming chief minister.
The subsequent years also the rise of the militant group ULFA, the state in turmoil and split in the AGP, then unification and again dissidence.
The book also discusses topics like language movement, NRC and citizenship bill and the surge of the BJP in Assam and its subsequent accession to power in 2016. (PTI)

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