Citizenship bill: Former Assam Chief Minister warns of backfire

Citizenship bill: Former Assam Chief Minister warns of backfire
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Hyderabad: Former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta who was catapulted to the stature by the anti-foreigner agitation between 1979 and 1985 which he led as the president of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) before grabbing power as the head of the new political entity – the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) said that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 could upset the equation of regional political outfits in Assam in particular and north east in general with BJP.

According to a news published in Times of India Mahanta said: “If the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 placed at the Parliament becomes a law, the indigenous people of Assam will become minority and language, literature and culture of Assam will be lost … We expect the Centre to withdraw the bill.”

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leaders have urged State Coordinator for National Register of Citizens (NRC) Prateek Hajela to ensure that not a single foreigners’ name is included in the final NRC, said AGP chief Atul Bora on Monday.

Addressing the media, Bora said that only an error-free NRC can safeguard the indigenous people of the state. “We are going to oppose any move which is inimical to the interest of the people of Assam. We are not going to accept any move which helps settlement of the illegal foreigners in Assam at any cost,” said the AGP president, who is a Minister in the Cabinet of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

“The Centre has been trying to bring in certain things which go against the Assam Accord and NRC. The soul of NRC must be protected,” he added.

Bora’s statement a week after the Assam government published the draft NRC on July 30.

Some government officials have, on record, admitted that the NRC included names of declared foreigners in different places while it had excluded several members of tribal communities, who, are the sons of soils here.

The draft NRC published on July 30 included the names of over 2.89 crore people of the state but left 40 lakh people out of the document for some discrepancies.

Reiterating the regional party’s opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the AGP president said that his party is trying to build consensus across the country against the citizenship (Amendment) bill, 2016.

“We have already in touch with several political parties including Shiv Sena to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. They have assured to help us. NRC will be useless if all these moves of the Centre work,” he said.

Siasat Web Team