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Assam in turmoil over Citizenship Amendment Bill

15 May 2018, 10:47 | Darnell Patrick

Students protest in front of Cotton University in Guwahati on Thursday

Students protest in front of Cotton University in Guwahati on Thursday

Sonowal had made the remark while interacting with the editors of print and electronic media here last evening on the prevailing situation in the state following the recent visit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016.

Jyrwa while appreciating the decision of the Meghalaya Government to oppose the Bill also urged the Chief Ministers of other states to take a cue from Meghalaya Government and oppose the Bill.

The stand of the Congr-ess against the bill has created a further embarrassment for the party as Mr Gogoi as chief minister until 2016 advocated asylum to Hindus and other minorities facing religious persecution in Bangladesh.

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants belonging to six communities- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians - eligible for Indian citizenship after six years of residence in the country.

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"It is my duty as the chief minister to take all with me and not take decisions on my own".

"We will have discussions with all stakeholders after the NRC list comes out and then take a decision on the proposed bill", Dass said. 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.

Assam's BJP Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is under extreme pressure from regional ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) which propelled it to power in the state in 2016. "It was due to his efforts that saw the IMDT (Illegal Migrants' Determination Tribunal) Act, which made detection of immigrants hard, being struck down (by the Supreme Court)", the state's Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told reporters in Guwahati. "It is heartening to note that this time, people are not falling prey to malicious agenda", she said. The Accord marked the end of anti-foreigner movement - anyone who entered the state after the midnight of March 24, 1971, would be considered an illegal immigrant, irrespective of their faith. Now the state Congress is saying something and the district units and their leaders in Barak Valley are saying something else. One day before the JPC visited Shillong on May 9, the Conrad Sangma government in Meghalaya unanimously chose to oppose the Bill. While nearly all organisations and non-BJP political parties in Assamese-speaking Brahmaputra Valley opposed the bill, the Bengali-speaking Barak Valley supported it.

There are also fears that anti-Bengali sentiments will increase in the state in the wake of the controversy.



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