GUWAHAT: BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday categorically said the party would bring the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 if it retains power at the Centre. His assertion came just days after the people in Assam and the Northeast had celebrated the Centre's failure to table the controversial bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Addressing a BJP youth workers' rally in Assam's Lakhimpur, Shah made it clear the BJP had not dropped the idea of amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six persecuted non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated till December 31, 2014."Let me tell you, if BJP retains power at the Centre, Modiji will bring the Bill again," Shah told the crowd.
One of the reasons why the Centre refrained from tabling the bill in the Rajya Sabha was that NDA did not have the required numbers there. The Centre was ostensibly also worried over the fallout of the bill's passage given the massive protests against it in the Northeast.
Shah said the BJP would implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 for safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities in the state over land and resources.
The All Assam Students' Union had signed the Accord with the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the end of bloody Assam Agitation of early 1980s. The Clause 6 of the Accord says, "Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Last month, the Centre had decided to constitute a nine-member high-level committee for the "effective implementation" of Clause 6 of the Accord. The decision was seen as a move to quell the anti-Citizenship Bill protests. However, six of the nine-member committee, including the chairman, soon opted out.