Citizenship Bill Triggers Protests Across Assam, Allies Threaten To Quit

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"Apart from Assam, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 poses a grave threat to other northeastern states".

Jyrwa while appreciating the decision of the Meghalaya Government to oppose the Bill also urged the Chief Ministers of other states to take a cue from Meghalaya Government and oppose the Bill.

Interestingly, top ministers in the Assam government, including CM Sonowal, trace back their political journey to the Assam Movement and the All Assam Students Union (AASU).

"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.

"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.

The writers, artistes and a number of conscious citizens of Assam on Sunday took to streets here in seeking scrapping of controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. "We will not take any decision that goes against the people of Assam", Sonowal told media persons here. We appeal to people to keep faith in the government... "The people should, however, continue to express their opinion and speak their mind to the JPC chairman through e-mail", he said.

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The 16-member JPC headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal had visited the state from May 7 to May 9 to elicit views from stakeholders on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Meanwhile, Assam police on Thursday interrogated senior Congress leader and former minister Ardhendu Dey at Hojai on charges of his alleged attempt to incite communal tension while advocating citizenship for Hindu Bengali who came from Bangladesh because of religious persecution.

The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal ) (IMDT) Act was enacted in 1983 to detect and deport illegal foreigners from Assam. "We are against the bill that will threaten the existence of the indigenous peoples, and will not hesitate to pull out of the government if it is passed".

The JPC's three-day hearing in Assam since Monday saw the State being divided on the issue.

A human chain carrying placards also supported the Bill, while politicians of both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress supported it even as their respective parties opposed it in the Brahmaputra valley.

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