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  India   All India  18 Nov 2019  Assam groups warn of huge stir

Assam groups warn of huge stir

THE ASIAN AGE. | MANOJ ANAND
Published : Nov 18, 2019, 7:47 am IST
Updated : Nov 18, 2019, 7:47 am IST

The AASU-led Assam agitation was a mass movement against the influx of foreigners, especially from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. (Photo: File)
 Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. (Photo: File)

Guwahati: The Asom Songrami Mancha, a platform of civil society leaders and activists, has threatened that the ruling BJP will face a movement bigger than the 1980s’ Assam students’ agitation if it pushed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament.

A day before the Winter Session of Parliament is going to start, Morcha executive president Adip Phukan said: “Irrespective of our differences in ideology, the civil society organisations and various unions from across the state will stand united against the Centre’s move to pass the bill. The BJP will face the biggest mass movement after the Assam agitation.”

The BJP-led Central government is set to introduce a new version of the bill — a key BJP promise aimed at granting citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The AASU-led Assam agitation was a mass movement against the influx of foreigners, especially from neighbouring Bangladesh. It started in 1979 and ended with signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.

Saying that the BJP had promised to grant citizenship to lakhs of infiltrators, specifically Hindus, in the name of religious persecution of refugees, Mr Phukan alleged that the BJP was trying to recognise Hindu migrants, who entered Assam to grab land and to avail of economic opportunities, as refugees. “If the infiltrators were refugees, the BJP should also make their names public and point out the camps in which they were accommodated,” Mr Phukan said.

He claimed chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his deputy Himanta Biswa Sarma were misleading the people of Assam to remain in the good books of the RSS and the BJP leadership in New Delhi. Mr Phukan went on to claim that the BJP, being motivated by the RSS, was conspiring to uproot the Assamese community, its language and culture. “To achieve this, the BJP is trying to outnumber the indigenous Assamese people by providing citizenship to Hindu Bengalis who infiltrated into Assam from erstwhile East Pakistan,” said Mr Phukan, who also said the BJP’s sole objective was to marginalise the Assamese in their own land.

The Morcha leader, seeking an united movement to block the passage of the bill, also regretted that if the Congress returns to power, they (Congress) would advocate granting citizenship to Muslims again on “humanitarian grounds”. Mr Phukan added: “We are forced to struggle for survival in our own land; and we are betrayed by our own leaders. They are neither vocal for the interests of the Assamese, neither in Dispur nor in Delhi. Their intention is only to remain in power and follow the dictates of the RSS.”

The bill, posted on the official website of Lok Sabha, seeks to “amend the definition of illegal migrant, reduction in the number of years of residency period to obtain Indian citizenship through naturalisation and empower the Central government to cancel the registration of Overseas Citizen of India card in case of any violation”.

Tags: assam groups, sarbananda sonowal