Having considered different aspects of the decisions of the Assam Government adopted in the cabinet meeting on 21 December 2019, Comrade Chandralekha Das, Secretary, Assam State Committee, SUCI(C), issued the following statement on 27 December 2019 :
All sections of the people of the state are aware of the fact that correctly realizing the deep apprehension of the Assamese-speaking people on the question of preserving their language and culture, we have been putting forward right from the days of inception of the Assam movement in 1979, a concrete proposal. Our proposal was that without linking with change in the pattern of population that has no bearing upon the issue as well as respective numbers of various communities of the state and in no way infringing on the constitutional rights of the linguistic minorities, big or small, to cultivate their respective mother tongues as they desire, – a special resolution be adopted Parliament or a constitutional amendment be adopted to make permanent the present status of Assamese as the State Language of Assam. We had noted that since then all sections of people including the Assamese-speaking people had heartily welcomed our proposal which at that time got extensive coverage in almost all news papers. We are happy to observe that the Government of Assam, late though it has been, has agreed to our demand in the cabinet meeting held on 21 December 2019. In view of this development, we demand that the State Government should now exert strong pressure upon the BJP- led Central Government to accept and implement the decision as early as possible.
As regards the declaration of the State Government to make Assamese a compulsory subject in the school level syllabus in the Brahmaputra valley stated to be in the interest of ensuring widespread learning of that language, our firm opinion is that all the non-Assamese speaking people residing in the Brahmaputra Valley, have been cultivating Assamese, expressing and exchanging their ideas and thoughts in Assamese and speaking Assamese fluently out of their own volition and necessity. If there is no imposition in this regard, we are sure they would continue this practice more and more. Another aspect to be noted is that, in the post-independent India, wherever there was an attempt of forced imposition of a language on any section of the people other than that section’s own mother tongue, the mutual amity and fraternity among the people which constitutes the basis of learning another language other than the mother tongue, was very much disturbed. The same thing happened in Assam as well. Furthermore, it bears recall that when there was a move to forcibly impose Hindi as the official language of India, a vehement protest erupted round the country. On the other hand, when that policy was rescinded, people started learning Hindi out of their own need. This is the abiding law of language learning. Lenin, the great leader of the international communist movement, also strongly emphasized this very scientific approach and outlook. Under the circumstances, our firm opinion is that it is neither necessary nor desirable to make it compulsory to learn Assamese language. In the natural process, people will learn and cultivate Assamese language.
We note with grave concern, that besides the above mentioned points, the Government has also announced some other decisions. We firmly hold that it is of paramount importance to have discussions with all the political parties, concerned organizations and individuals on such crucial issues beforehand and then arrive at a decision based on unanimity or concord of opinions. Otherwise, the unity of the people is threatened. So our demand is that there should be a proper review of such decisions on so many critical issues following the abovementioned process.
At the same time, we note with grave concern that alongside other legitimate demands, neither the state government nor the central government has uttered a single word about the imperativeness to undertake speedy industrialization of the state by way of setting up small, medium and large scale industries in the public sector with a view to pulling up the state from severe economic backwardness and addressing the problem of spiralling unemployment which are wreaking havoc in people’s life. We demand that immediately a well-thought out, time-based package programme of industrialization be adopted and implemented in the state based on effective discussion between the central and state governments. We also demand that the two public sector paper mills – Panchgram and Jagiroad be reopened without any further loss of time.