The incumbent BJP Government has received a lot of flak recently over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. And former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi believes the public outrage against the Government is justified as the Centre is showing unneccesary haste over the controversial bill.
Will it affect the update of the NRC?
The amendment seeks to empower minority communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh eligible for Indian citizenship.
However the only glitch is that this bill is in total contrast to Assam Accord of 1985. The cut-off date for detection and deportation of foreigners as per the accord remains March 25th 1971. Now Gogoi has rapped the Central Government for showing unnecessary haste instead of indulging in discussion. The former Chief Minister believes if this bill comes to fruition, the ongoing work for National Register of Citizens will be affected.
Gogoi isn’t alone in opposing the bill. Former Chief Minister and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta is also among those opposing it. Mahanta believes religious persecution no longer remains a problem in Bangladesh so granting citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus makes little sense.
It is to be noted the current State Government in Assam is a coalition between BJP, AGP and BPF. But despite one of its major stakeholders opposing it, the Centre remains keen to pass it. The reason for the same being granting citizenship to Hindu Bengalis was a poll promise of the BJP.
All Assam Students Union (AASU) has also vehemently opposed the bill. Not only that, a new organisation Sanmilita Aikya Mancha, Assam has been floated to oppose the bill. The organisation said it will unite the indigenious peoples groups to oppose the bill.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has requested a Joint Parliamentary Committee, comprising of members from both the houses to visit the state. The committee led by Satyapal Singh will be on a two-day visit to the state. The committee is expected to hear the grievances of various organisations and stakeholders of the bill.