Assam in turmoil over Citizenship Amendment Bill

Pauline Gross
May 15, 2018

Most of the NGOs in Meghalaya have vehemently opposed the proposed of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, before the visiting Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) here in the city on Thursday.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from the minority communities - Hindu, Christians and Jains - of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan eligible for citizenship after six years of stay in India. "I urge all to help and cooperate as we the people of Assam are collectively responsible for ensuring peace and order in the state", Sonowal said.

Activists of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) led by former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta take out a torch light rally objecting to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Guwahati on Friday. "By taking the opinion of the people of Assam, we will take a decision on the issue", the chief minister said. The bill violates the basic structure of the Constitution and Centre's move to amend the Citizenship Bill is only appeased the Hindu voters from Bangladesh and other neighboring countries.

Yesterday, as posters with "Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is missing" mushroomed across Guwahati, Mr Sonowal said, "I have no reason to continue as the Chief Minister if I can't protect the interests of the people". Already the relation between local Assamese and Hindus of other linguistic groups are not cordial due to their dominance over Assamese people in jobs and business If Assam has to take the burden of several lakh Hindu Bangladesh there will be more friction and social unrest in the state.

Nath said Neso will soon go to Delhi to stage protests against the bill in the national capital and has also chose to meet the Union home minister and Prime Minister to discuss the issue.

"I appeal to all to maintain peace so that unwanted situations do not develop in the state".

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The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal ) (IMDT) Act was enacted in 1983 to detect and deport illegal foreigners from Assam.

Asked about the state government's position on the controversial Bill, Patowary said the government would disclose its stand only after the publication of National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Before passing the Bill, Centre constituted a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) comprising of 16 members who are now on a tour of the North East to solicit views on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The JPC had heard individuals, political and other organisations on the bill in Guwahati on May 7 for 30 Brahmaputra valley districts and the next two days for the three Barak valley districts. While nearly all organisations and non-BJP political parties in Assamese-speaking Brahmaputra Valley opposed the bill, the Bengali-speaking Barak Valley supported it.

Following the JPC hearings, protests had broken out in the Brahmaputra Valley against the Bill.

Other reports by GizPress

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