GUWAHATI: Peasants’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee (KMSS), which staged a massive protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Guwahati on Friday, said 1.9 crore “Hindu Bangladeshis” will migrate to Assam if the contentious bill is passed in Parliament.
“This is a dangerous bill. If it is passed in Parliament, 1.90 crore Hindu Bangladeshis will come to Assam. Bengali will become the official language of Assam and the Assamese will lose their political rights,” RTI activist and KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi told journalists during a march against the bill in Guwahati.
Recently, in response to a query from Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma at a programme in Guwahati, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said, “The bill would protect the interests of (non-Muslim) immigrants who migrated to India till December 31, 2014”.
Gogoi expressed the apprehension that the bill, if passed, would be a threat to the land, languages and cultures of the Assamese and indigenous communities.
“The Assamese people will lose jobs and the Assamese language will disappear. Barring Assam and Tripura, the rest of the states in the Northeast will be kept outside the bill’s purview,” he said.
The activist appealed to all Assam-loving people and organisations to raise their voice of protest against the bill.
Thousands of people took part in the protest on Friday during which the protestors shouted slogans against the bill.
The pro-talks faction of insurgent group United Liberation Front of Assam also expressed its opposition. Its leader Anup Chetia said the identity, cultures and languages of the indigenous communities of the Northeast would be finished in the event of the bill’s passage.
Divided opinions on NRC as 1951 cut-off date
Groups and organisations are divided on the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC) with 1951 as the cut-off date. The NRC in Assam was updated based on March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.
The Assam Public Works (APW), which first moved the Supreme Court seeking the updation of the NRC in Assam, believed the year 1951 as the cut-off date would help detect the foreigners.
“We endorse what Amit Shah said. It will help detect the foreigners in Assam,” APW president Abhijeet Sarma said.
However, the All Assam Minorities Students' Union (AAMSU) has reservation against an NRC with 1951 as the cut-off year.
“The NRC in Assam was updated under the direct monitoring of the Supreme Court. If there’s a fault anywhere, one can move it. The people have already suffered due to NRC,” advisor to AAMSU, Azizur Rahman, said.