JPC has asked organisations who were called for hearings to submit their memorandum in advance along with names of representatives.
Guwahati: In what has triggered an angry reaction in Assam, the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has decided to resume hearing in New Delhi on April 12 but a large number of stakeholders who opposed the bill have not been called for hearing.
The JPC has asked the organisations who were called for the hearings to submit their memorandum well in advance along with the names of the representatives, attending the hearing.
It is significant that formation of the JPC had necessitated after a large number of organizations in Assam opposed the bill seeking to provide citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis who came to India after March 25, 1971 due to religious persecution in their own country.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 26 other organizations representing different ethnic groups of the state, have already submitted a joint memorandum to the JPC but only a few of the organizations have been called for the hearing.
The AASU which appeared before the JPC long back, has strongly opposed the bill saying that the bill violates the provisions of the Assam Accord and poses a threat to the identity of the indigenous people of the state.
The AASU in its memorandum to the JPC stated that the proposed bill would destroy the valued principle of secularism enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Bill has a hidden agenda of creating vote bank at the cost of the secular fabric of the country and the Bill would encourage further infiltration from Bangladesh, the memorandum said.
The memorandum further said that Assam would not be able to take any more burden of Bangladeshi nationals irrespective of their religion as the state has already accepted the burden of the foreigners who came to the state up to the midnight of March 24, 1971 and all sections of indigenous people of the State are opposed to granting citizenship to foreigners who came to the State on or after March 25, 1971.
The proposed bill has created a lot of anger in the state as a large number of organizations pleaded that the JPC should conduct its hearing in the state instead of holding it in New Delhi.
The AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya has warned that the Central and State Governments should be ready to face a vigorous movement if they try to pass the bill forcefully by not accepting the opinion of the people of the state. He said that the JPC should take the opinion of all the indigenous people of the state before formulating its opinion and if the Centre tries to impose the bill against the wishes of the people, it would be responsible for the consequences.
The group intellectuals lead by noted social activists Hiren Gohain has also called people from all sections of society to unite and demand immediate withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and oppose the "steamrollering of Assamese sentiments".
The noted RTI activist Akhil Gogoi alleged that it was the conspiracy of the BJP government to hold the hearing of JPC in New Delhi so that many of the stakeholders could not appear before the committee. He also warned that any attempt to impose the bill would be counterproductive. “We are going to oppose the bill tooth and nail,” said Gogoi.