GUWAHATI: Assam and the Northeast brace for a fresh round of protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, as speculation is rife that the Centre will try to get the controversial Bill passed in Rajya Sabha during the winter session of Parliament beginning on Monday.
As many as 11 political parties have come together under the banner of Left Democratic Manch, Assam. It has announced a movement against the Bill, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six “persecuted” non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh besides Pakistan and
Afghanistan who migrated till December 31, 2014. Also, the influential North East Students’ Organisation has decided to stage protests at all state capitals of Northeast on November 18.
There is a perception that the Centre will table the Bill in the Rajya Sabha as the NDA now has the numbers to get it passed. The Bill has already passed in the Lok Sabha.
Assam Minister and convenor of North East Democratic Alliance Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Centre will come up with a tweaked version of the Bill that would address the grievances of the Northeast. He said in this regard Home Minister Amit Shah has already had discussions with the CMs of the states in the region.
However, there is still a widespread apprehension among various organisations. They say the Centre’s move would threaten locals and their land, language and culture. Groups in Assam say if the Bill is passed, it will render the updation of NRC meaningless.