GUWAHATI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has stirred a hornet’s nest by raking up the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which seeks to protect “persecuted” non-Muslim immigrants who migrated to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014.
“…Let me assert that Article 371 will not be hurt by the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Article 371 is the right of the Northeast. Your laws, tribal identity and culture will remain protected when we bring the Citizenship Bill,” Shah had said at a conclave of non-Congress conglomerate of political parties North East Democratic Alliance here on Monday.
He made the statement after the chief ministers of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram had expressed concern on the Bill.
On Tuesday, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which spearheaded a bloody anti-immigrants’ agitation in the early 1980s, slammed the Union Home Minister for the attempt to impose the controversial Bill on the people of Assam.
“This is their (BJP’s) fascist character. As their numbers are set to increase in Rajya Sabha, they are trying to pass the Bill by ignoring the sentiment of the people of Assam and the Northeast. This will be undemocratic and anti-constitution. We will not accept this Bill if forced upon us,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.
He said the various organisations in Assam, opposed to the Bill, will go to political parties across the country and mobilize public opinions against the Bill.
“We had staged a democratic movement earlier along with several other organisations. We will launch a similar movement again. We appeal to political parties, believing in the Constitution and secular character of the country, to come forward and lend their support to us,” Gogoi said.
Congress MP, Gaurav Gogoi, too slammed the BJP. He targeted the party on the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“The BJP and Amit Shah have already derived maximum advantage out of the NRC. During the last Lok Sabha elections, they moved around the country and told people about the 40 lakh illegal immigrants in Assam. They said these people would be driven out. The figure of 40 lakh has now become 19 lakh as 21 lakh have made it to the NRC,” Gogoi said.
He said when the BJP needed votes, it had cashed in on the NRC. And now when people are angry over the NRC for alleged discrepancies, they are saying the NRC was updated by the Supreme Court, Gogoi said.