A life and death situation in assam Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

GUWAHATI : In a bid to allow Hindu Bangladeshis in the state of Assam,

the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016,

who is on a three-day visit to Assam, has set foot in Guwahati on Sunday for

the hearing on the Bill.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was proposed in the Parliament, which was opposed by many organisations of the state.

This opposition led to the formation of Joint parliamentary committee (JPC).

The purpose of the JPC visit to Guwahati and Silchar is to have a hearing

on the issue relating to the Bill.

The allocation of one day-long hearing for 30 districts as compared to two

days for a combined state hearing has led to an outburst across the state.

This hearing is significant for Assam as it would decide the fate of the state.

Organisations like KMSS and AJYCP among others have brought forward

memorandum opposing the aforementioned Bill.

As per recent developments, KMSS alone has brought forward 2,000 memorandums.

Members belonging to the Film fraternity as well have come forward in opposition of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The Assam accord was signed after a six year long anti foreigners’ movement in 1979-1985 after much bloodshed.

The people of Assam are of the view that giving citizenship rights to Hindus

from Bangladesh would unfavorably affect the culture, language and tradition of the state.

The cut-off date for the detection and deportation of foreigners as per the Assam accord is March 25, 1971 irrespective of any religious biasness.



Massive reactions amid the visit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

to Assam that began its hearing in Guwahati today to take into account

feedback from political parties, apolitical organizations, other groups

and individuals over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that seeks to

allow migrants from certain minority communities living in Afghanistan,

Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship.

In other words, the Bill, if ratified by Parliament and converted into an act,

will pave the way for granting citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshi migrants,

something various groups and organizations of Assam have been opposing tooth and nail.

The AGP, an ally of the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Assam, opposed the bill with former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta making the first representation before the JPC at the Assam Administrative Staff College in Khanapara, Guwahati. Other AGP leaders, including Atul Borah, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhushan Choudhury, all ministers of the Sarbannada Sonowal-led cabinet, also opposed the bill, claiming the provisions of the bill seek to dilute clauses of the Assam Accord and that under no circumstance will the AGP agree to any foreigner irrespective of their faith to be granted citizenship and “dumped in Assam”.

“Despite being a part of the ruling coalition, we have been making our stand clear time and again.

We are against this bill and will continue to oppose it.

No Bangladeshi national entering Assam after March 25, 1971, can stay in Assam whatever faith he or she professes,” AGP president Atul Borah, also the Assam Agriculture minister, told Media Persons.

Leaders of other political parties, apolitical organizations and individuals also made their representations before the JPC that will also conduct another hearing at Silchar tomorrow and the day after.

There was also resentment among various groups and organizations over the holding of the public hearing at Silchar while other towns in eastern and North Assam were not selected for a similar excercise.

“The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is a direct assault on the historic Assam Accord. It will threaten the existence of the indigenous people of Assam.

Assam cannot afford to take the burden of any more Bangladeshi national.

We oppose the BJP government’s move to grant citizenship rights to Hindu Bangladeshis,” senior journalist and former AJYCP president Adip Kumar Phukan said.

Over 100 organizations and individuals are expected to submit their representations before the JPC during today’s public hearing.

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