Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Meghalaya NGOs oppose Citizenship (Amendment) Bill before JPC

Students protest in front of Cotton University in Guwahati on Thursday Students protest in front of Cotton University in Guwahati on Thursday
Elijah Vega | 14 May, 2018, 04:47

On Monday, hundreds protested in Guwahati, with placards reading "Assamese nation will never accept the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill". That is why we will sincerely work for safeguarding the interests of the people of Assam. At a press conference on Saturday, Sonowal said he will step down as Chief Minister if he failed to protect the rights of the citizens of Assam.

"It is my duty as the chief minister to take all with me and not take decisions on my own".

JPC chairman and BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal, who was present at the meet today, said all opinions and views will be compiled in a report and submitted to the Parliament.

"The government is doing everything to take the people of the state into confidence", Assam industry minister Chandra Mohan Patwary said with reference to the bill, which proposes that illegal migrants of certain minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan can become eligible for Indian citizenship.

The new bill breaches the clauses of Assam Accord which stated that all illegal foreigners who came to the state after 1971 from Bangladesh, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported. "We have requested the JPC to visit Assam and interact with the people again", said the senior Cabinet minister of the BJP-led government in Assam.

"When Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 was imposed on Assam, did the then Congress government take the views of the people of Assam?"

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The JPC had heard individuals, political and other organisations on the bill in Guwahati on May 7 for 30 Brahmaputra valley districts and the next two days for the three Barak valley districts. During the 80 the students' movement of Assam had raised the issue and fought with the Government.

"The proposed bill is the latest example that "lawmakers of the country have no regard for the future of the North-eastern region", Jyrwa said".

He also appealed for peace and said there is no need for people to get agitated as the process for the JPC to take their opinion is still on.

The stand of the Congr-ess against the bill has created a further embarrassment for the party as Mr Gogoi as chief minister until 2016 advocated asylum to Hindus and other minorities facing religious persecution in Bangladesh.

"Even without passing of the Bill, illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are crossing over to the region be it Assam, Tripura or any other state", he said while maintaining that the North East region can not take the burden of Bangladeshis anymore since the region took the entire load of Bangladeshis fleeing their country during their liberation war.

Meanwhile, in Barak Valley, organisations representing Bengali-speaking Hindus are infuriated over protests in the Brahmaputra Valley.

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