GUWAHATI: A day after protests were banned in parts of Guwahati, former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said Friday he would violate the prohibitory order and court arrest if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was not withdrawn by the Centre.
Addressing a press conference, Gogoi added that if protests or disturbances continue in the state, youths are likely to get attracted towards insurgency.
"I will violate (Section) 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure) if you (Centre) do not withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. I will lead people and shout slogans. I will go to jail a jail bharo (movement)," he asserted.
The bill will not only affect Assam but threaten the entire country's unity and culture, Gogoi claimed.
By completely prohibiting all sorts of protests, the BJP-led government is curtailing the democratic rights of people and running the state in an autocratic manner, the senior Congress leader said.
"Before bringing the bill, why was no attempt made to have discussion by the government with all stakeholders? Even after protests started, the government could have talked. (Former prime minister) Indira Gandhi had herself come to talk when the Assam agitation was on," he said.
In view of protests on a daily basis against the bill, the Guwahati police Thursday banned all sorts of agitation in parts of Guwahati under Section 144 of the CrPC.
The jurisdiction of the order will cover Dispur, where the Secretariat complex is, Bhangagarh, Basistha, Hatigaon, Sonapur and Khetri police station areas, said Deputy Commissioner (East) Ramandeep Kaur.
"If protests and disturbances continue, youths will be unhappy and terrorism will rise. Because of such developments like the Citizenship Bill, youths are getting attracted towards insurgency and joining the ULFA."
"We had brought them to the mainstream, but the BJP is doing the opposite by taking anti-people policies. The government should not ignore peoples' aspirations," Gogoi said.
He also said the BJP is unable to handle the law and order situation and added the home department was "clueless".
"That is why, a Bengal cadre officer is brought as security adviser. Why an Assam cadre officer was not appointed? Now they will appoint all officers from outside," he said.
Gogoi was referring to the appointment of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Ranjit Kumar Panchnanda as the security adviser to the Assam chief minister.
"Maybe, one day, we will have the CM also from outside. Maybe, Ram Madhav (BJP general secretary) will become the CM next time. In any case, the government is being run from outside," he claimed.
Talking about religious persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh, the former CM said in his 15-year tenure, he did not get a single application from anyone about religious persecution in the neighbouring country or political persecution.
"If the JPC got information that 31,000 have applied for citizenship under religious persecution, then why did the Centre not take up the issue with the Bangladesh government? In fact, Hindus are living at peace there," he said.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is trying to create a clash between Hindus and Muslims in Assam on the citizenship issue, Gogoi alleged.
"Mizoram, Meghalaya are opposing (the bill). Manipur CM has asked to exclude his state. The alliance of the Tripura government has threatened to pull out if the bill is passed. However, the BJP leadership in Assam is silent and assuring people it will not harm us," he said.
Gogoi also vowed to defeat the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election and asked people to ensure that the saffron party's tally comes down to zero.
On infiltration, he said, "The BJP itself said that no Bangladeshi came to India in the last 10 years. So, they were not happy and now want to bring Bangladeshis into Assam with the help of the bill."
"During election rallies, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi said that 'I brought all foreigners and I won with their votes'. Now, their own spokesperson said that his PM lied and it was a 'jumla'."
BJP spokesman Swapnanil Barua on Thursday said there had been no illegal infiltration from Bangladesh into India during the last 10 years, despite making the issue a major poll plank in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2016 Assam assembly elections.