The Assam Accord
The Assam Accord

Revisiting the Assam Accord: Its Impact and Future Prospects

Examining the Historical Significance and Ongoing Relevance of a Landmark Agreement

The Assam Accord:

  • In 1985, the Union government and the All Assam Students' Union signed the Assam Accord, which ended a 6-year agitation over the entry of Bangladeshi migrants into the state.

  • It identifies foreigners in Assam. 

Clause 5 of the Assam Accord:

  • Persons of Indian descent who arrived in Assam between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, and were discovered to be foreigners, had to register themselves and were to be awarded citizenship after ten years of residence, subject to specific requirements.

  • Persons who entered Assam after March 25, 1971, were to be identified and deported in accordance with the law.

Clause 6 of the Assam Accord:

  • Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

Clause 7 of the Assam Accord:

  • The Government takes this opportunity to renew their commitment for the speedy all round economic development of Assam, so as to improve the standard of living of the people.

  • Special emphasis will be placed on education and science & technology through establishment of national institutions.

Significance of the Assam Accord:

Resolution of Assam Agitation:

  • The Assam Accord marked the culmination of the Assam Agitation, a mass protest movement that lasted for six years and demanded the detection and deportation of illegal immigrants from Assam.

  • The signing of the accord brought an end to the agitation, thereby pacifying the volatile political situation in the state.

Legal Framework for Addressing Illegal Immigration: 

  • The Assam Accord provided a legal framework for addressing the issue of illegal immigration in Assam.

  • It outlined specific measures, such as the detection and deportation of illegal immigrants who entered Assam after March 25, 1971, which helped in defining the scope and timeline for addressing the issue.

Protection of Indigenous Identity and Culture: 

  • The Assam Accord sought to address these concerns by emphasizing measures for the socio-economic development of Assam and safeguarding the rights and interests of the indigenous communities.

Political Relevance:

  • The Assam Accord continues to hold political relevance in Assam and serves as a reference point for discussions on issues related to immigration, citizenship, and ethnic identity. Political parties and stakeholders often refer to the accord while formulating policies and strategies related to these issues.

Section 6A of Citizenship Act:

  • Section 6A was introduced as a special provision in the Citizenship Act 1955 following the signing of the ‘Assam Accord’ Memorandum of Settlement on August 15, 1985.

  • Section 6A of the Citizenship Act was inserted as an amendment to establish March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for entry into the state.

  • This accord, facilitated by the Rajiv Gandhi government, aimed to protect the cultural, linguistic, and social identity of Assam.

National Register of Citizens (NRC):

  • The National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register established after the 1951 Census in regard of each village, showing the houses or holdings in serial order and noting the number and names of people who live there.

  • The NRC was only published once, in 1951, and was not updated until 2019.

  • For the time being, it has only been updated in Assam, but the government intends to update it across the country.

  • Legacy Data refers to both the 1951 National Register of Citizens and the 1971 Electoral Roll (up to midnight on March 24, 1971). Individuals and their descendants whose names appear on these documents are certified as Indian citizens.


The Assam Accord represents a crucial milestone in the history of Assam and remains significant in shaping the socio-political dynamics of the region. While it provided a framework for addressing the issue of illegal immigration and protecting the interests of indigenous communities, its full implementation continues to be a subject of debate and contention.

Some Frequently Asked Questions on Assam Accord

When was the Assam Accord signed?

The Assam Accord was signed on August 15, 1985.

What is the Assam Accord?

The Assam Accord is an agreement signed between the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement. It aimed to address the issue of illegal immigration and protect the cultural, social, and linguistic identity of the Assamese people.

Who were the key signatories of the Assam Accord?

The key signatories included the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, and leaders of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP).

What were the main provisions of the Assam Accord?

The main provisions of the Assam Accord included:

  • Detection, deletion, and deportation of illegal immigrants who entered Assam after March 25, 1971.

  • Safeguarding the political, social, and cultural rights of the Assamese people.

  • Providing constitutional, legislative, and administrative safeguards to protect and preserve the cultural, social, and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

  • Accelerating the economic development of Assam.

What is the significance of March 25, 1971, in the Assam Accord?

March 25, 1971, is the cut-off date agreed upon in the Assam Accord for identifying illegal immigrants. Those who entered Assam after this date are to be detected, deleted from electoral rolls, and deported.

What is the current status of the Assam Accord?

The Assam Accord remains a crucial document, but its full implementation has been a matter of ongoing political debate and legal challenges. Recent developments, such as the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, are part of the broader efforts to address the issues outlined in the Accord.

What challenges have been faced in implementing the Assam Accord?

Challenges in implementing the Assam Accord include difficulties in identifying illegal immigrants, political resistance, legal challenges, and concerns about the human rights of those affected by deportation. Additionally, balancing the enforcement of the Accord with ensuring social harmony has been a significant challenge.

How does the Assam Accord affect the local population?

The Assam Accord affects the local population by addressing the concerns of illegal immigration, which many Assamese people believe threatens their cultural and demographic stability. However, the process of identifying and deporting illegal immigrants has also caused anxiety and uncertainty among various communities in Assam.

What future prospects are discussed in relation to the Assam Accord?

Future prospects include better implementation of the Accord’s provisions, potential amendments to address contemporary issues, and continued dialogue between the government and local communities to ensure that the Accord's objectives are met without causing social unrest. The focus is also on ensuring economic development and safeguarding the rights of all residents in Assam.

Advait IAS