Assam bandh: Over 60 groups protest against Citizenship Bill

The AGP is a partner of the BJP-led alliance government also took out a rally in Guwahati against the Bill.

Assam bandh: Over 60 groups protest against Citizenship Bill

Guwahati: Normal life came to a halt after a call for a 12-hour Assam bandh on Tuesday given by over 60 organisations against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 drew a total response across the state, except the four districts of Barak Valley.

Most of the government offices in state capital Guwahati recorded thin attendance, while commercial establishments across the state remained shut in response to the strike call.

Roads wore a deserted look, with only a few buses of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) plying.

The bandh supporters blocked roads by burning tyres. They also attacked buses and other vehicles plying on the road in defiance of the bandh call.

These organisations are protesting against a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee with the Ministries of Home and External Affairs over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.

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The bill seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, drawing opposition from several organisations in Assam.

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi while addressing a press conference said, “The BJP government in Assam came to power promising to protect ‘Jati’, ‘Mati’, and ‘Bheti’ (community, land and foundation) of Assam. However, it has made a U-turn on its promises and is hatching a conspiracy against indigenous communities.”

“We have decided to oppose the Bill tooth and nail because it will affect the indigenous communities in Assam,” he said.

The Asom Gana Parishad also took out a rally in Guwahati against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.

The AGP is a partner of the BJP-led alliance government in Assam.

“The Assam Accord is Gita, Bible and Quran for us and I want to ask the BJP leadership to clarify whether they respect the Assam Accord or not? I want to ask the BJP leadership to make clear if they respect the blood of martyrs of the Assam movement who have laid down their lives for the sake of Assam and indigenous people,” said Atul Bora, the President of AGP, at the rally.

With agency inputs