BJP allies, Northeast political parties and students` bodies oppose Citizenship Bill

09 January, 2019, 07:39 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Protesters against the bill have accused settlers of taking away jobs from indigenous groups

Sarangthem warned that the AMSU will launch various forms of agitations if the state's Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government does nothing tangible to protect the indigenous peoples.

BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said in his dissent note that the bill contravenes the provisions of the principal Act and goes against the spirit of the Assam Accord.

Calling the bill an attempt to make illegal migrants eligible for Indian citizenship on the basis of religion, Chief Minister Zoramthanga has said the Mizo National Front (MNF) had been opposing the bill from the very beginning.

AGP president Atul Bora had last month written to BJP chief Amit Shah, saying the party will have no alternative but to "repudiate the existing alliance" in case of such an eventuality.

The entire north-eastern region came to a standstill on Tuesday morning responding to the shutdown call of various students' organizations spearheaded by North East Students' Organization (NESO) against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

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"We did not organise any movement on Tuesday as part of the opposition to the Citizenship Bill", said Debbarma, also the IPFT's chief spokesman.

Later, Bora told a television channel, "We felt betrayed at the BJP's attitude towards the bill as when we entered into the alliance, we were convinced Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to resolve the issue of illegal migrants.We never dreamt that the BJP could do this to the people of Assam".

He said the BJP is in a hurry to pass the Bill in the Parliament to gain political mileage ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a partner in the BJP-led Assam government, broke up with the BJP while the NDA allies, the Shiv Sena and the JD (U), have opposed this legislation.

The decision followed an AGP delegation's meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, who asserted that the government will ensure its passage in Lok Sabha Tuesday, Bora said.

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Roy said there was no effort to evolve a consensus in the Joint Committee of Parliament that examined the bill.

It referred to the understanding arrived at prior to the Assam Assembly election, 2016, and said the AGP had made a decision to go for the alliance during a discussion with the BJP in New Delhi on "the basis of clear understanding of the Assam Accord, other major issues of Assam, including the seat adjustments". The influential student body, All Assam Students' Union (AASU), has claimed this is the first time in 10 years that the student outfit has called a bandh.

"We're trying to save Assam from Jinnah", BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, referring to Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was instrumental in carving Muslim-dominated Pakistan out of India after winning independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Previous year in October another massive bandh was called to protest against the Centre's bid to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the winter session of Parliament.

The Congress, TMC, CPI (M) and a few other parties have been steadfastly opposing the bill claiming citizenship can not be given on basis of religion, as India is secular.

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IPFT Assistant General Secretary Mangal Debbarma told IANS that National Federation for New States (NFNS), a conglomerate of many small parties in the northeastern region and other states, has also been opposing the Bill. It would grant rights to Hindus, Jains, Parsi and several other non-Muslim religious groups who migrated illegally from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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