Give up Citizenship Bill, it’s a threat: AGP to Amit Shah

GUWAHATI, May 20: The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Sunday registered its protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, before BJP president Amit Shah and urged the Centre not to go ahead with the Bill as it is a threat to the indigenous people and violates the clauses of THE Assam Accord.
The AGP is an ally of the BJP government in Assam.
AGP president and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora urged the BJP president at the third meet of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) here to take the sentiments of the local people into consideration and ensure the Bill is not passed.
A series of protests have rocked Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, with locals fearing it will breach the clauses of the Assam Accord which states that all the illegal foreigners who came to the state after 1971 from Bangladesh, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported.
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.
“We are strongly opposed to the Bill as it violates the clauses of the Assam Accord which was signed after six years of agitation in which 855 people had sacrificed their lives,” Bora said.
The Assam Accord is the fruit of the six-year Assam agitation and we cannot let its clauses be violated, he said.
If the Bill is passed, it will ‘”threaten the identity of the indigenous people, change the demographic pattern of the state, and there should be no division on the basis of religion,” he pointed out.
“We hope Amit Shah-ji will realize the gravity of the situation that will result following the passing of the Bill, understand the sentiments of the people and not proceed with it in the interest of the indigenous population,” he added.
Shah, however, made no mention of the Bill during his address at the NEDA convention.
Earlier in the day, KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi and his supporters were taken into custody while they were protesting against the Bill and were observing a ‘Black Day’ in protest against Shah’s visit.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Bill had recently visited Guwahati and Silchar to conduct public hearings on the views of the public and political and other organisations about the proposed amendment.
There have been strong protests against the Bill in the Brahmaputra Valley as it was feared that it would lead to widespread influx of Hindu Bangladeshis, thereby changing the demographic pattern of the state.
On the other hand, the Bill has been welcomed in the Barak Valley, where it is alleged that many Hindu Bangladeshis have settled since the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. (PTI)