Assam assembly sees disruptions amid citizenship bill protests

AGP president Atul Bora said the Governor's speech had no mention of the bill, which "threatens the existence, language, culture, heritage" of the indigenous Assamese people.

Published: 28th January 2019 09:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2019 09:44 PM   |  A+A-

Policemen control a fire set by agitators protesting against the Citizenship Bill. Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | PTI)


GUWAHATI: The Opposition Congress, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) came together to protest against the citizenship bill in the Assam assembly on Monday, alleging the contentious issue found no mention in the Governor's speech.

Amid demonstrations, the House was adjourned for 45 minutes.

Soon after Governor Jagdish Mukhi ended his tribute to legendary singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika for being conferred the Bharat Ratna, AGP president Atul Bora raised the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and said it found no mention in his speech.

Thereafter, the entire Opposition, including the Congress, the AIUDF and AGP MLAs shouted slogans and held up placards demanding scrapping of the bill.

The AGP had recently snapped ties with the BJP over the controversial bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8.

Noisy scenes prevailed on the opening day of the budget session, as the opposition members rushed to the well of the House, and showed the placards to the Governor as he read his speech.

Congress legislators also wore the traditional Assamese scarf of honour - 'gamusa' - around their necks.

READ | Citizenship Bill fallout: Assam Police bars people from entering Republic Day events with black cloth

As the demonstrations continued, the House was adjourned by Speaker Hiten Goswami for 45 minutes.

Later, talking to reporters outside the House, AGP president Atul Bora said the Governor's speech had no mention of the bill, which "threatens the existence, language, culture, heritage" of the indigenous Assamese people.

The Congress' Debabrata Saikia, also the leader of the Opposition in the House, alleged that the state government is trying to keep the people in the dark on the issue of the bill.

"We did not protest when the Governor was paying tributes to Bhupen Hazarika. But, when he started speaking about the law and order situation and that peace, harmony and fraternity prevailed, we protested as the ground situation is different," Saikia asserted.

"The speech is not based on facts. The government has destroyed social harmony creating divisions among people by bringing the bill, which violates the historic Assam Accord," he claimed.

If the Assam government wants to actually honour Bhupen Hazarika, it should scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, he asserted.

In his speech, the Governor said the multi-pronged strategy adopted by the Assam Government under the Unified Command Structure in the form of sustained counter-insurgency operation and peace overtures have yielded results.

"Rehabilitation of misguided youths has paid rich dividends, which has been reflected in the suspension of operation agreements with as many as 13 extremist outfits," he said.

"My government is also hopeful that ULFA(I) and the NDFB(S) faction will also come forward to solve their problems through negotiation," Mukhi added.

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