Uproar in Assam after PM’s Green Signal For Citizenship Bill
”We will not allow citizenship by religion”
GUWAHATI: North East Students’ Organization (NESO), the umbrella body of all the major students bodies of the region has called for an 11-hour strike on January 8 against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This allows citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from neighbouring countries.
Dozens of organizations have extended their support to the strike. This was announced in Guwahati on Saturday after the first flash of protests.
The simmering anger against the Bill erupted after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the green signal during an election rally in the southern Assam city Silchar on Friday.
“We, the students’ bodies, condemn the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s very unfortunate. This bill is dangerous for the indigenous people. We will not accept it at any cost. The Prime Minister, the ruling BJP both at the centre and in the state are against the indigenous people. We will continue to oppose this bill. By giving a statement in favour of the bill, the PM has insulted the emotions of the people in Assam. The centre wants the state to be unstable,” Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya, advisor of NESO and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) said today.
Bhattacharya said that they did not want to call for a bandh but the situation had now forced them to take the extreme step.
“We are in crisis. Our future is in deep crisis. So, we were forced to call for a bandh. We have no option left with us,” he said.
AASU leadership said that the bill if passed, will be an insult and contrary to the Assam Accord which was signed in 1985 after a prolonged Assam Agitation to drive out illegal foreigners.
According to the Assam Accord, anyone who ha entered Assam after March 25, 1971 is an illegal citizen irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
On Saturday, groups and organizations across Assam hit the streets after Modi’s speech.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) along with 70 odd organizations have opposed the Prime Minister’s statement on the Citizenship Bill in the first instance.
Modi during an election rally at Silchar had said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, with which is linked the sentiments and emotions of lakhs of people, is moving in the right direction. He described the Bill “as a penance for the wrong doers of partition”.
“Passing the bill will be a solution to the problems people have faced for several years. Partition of the country, which took place during the Congress rule years ago, brought trouble for people and that needs to be resolved,” had said Modi addressing the Bijoy Sankalp Samabesh.
KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said that the decision of granting citizenship in the name of religion will bring doom to the region.
“It’s against the people of the state. This kind of ploy will never be accepted, we will not allow them to grant citizenship in the name of religion,” Gogoi said.
The Bill was first tabled in Parliament in 2016, and then because of the opposition was sent for a review to the Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The Congress claimed that the Bill was a ploy by the BJP to woo the Hindu Bengali voters in southern part of Assam often referred to as Barak Valley. Assam Congress President Ripun Bora said that PM Modi had come to disturb the peace and harmony of the state by trying to divide the people.