NEWS
07/01/2019 10:57 AM IST

Citizenship Bill Report To Be Tabled In Lok Sabha Today, Assam On The Boil As Protests Erupt

Several indigenous organisations in the state have also been opposing the bill as they believe it would harm their cultural identity.

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Activists of NESO under the aegis of AASU holding a protest in Assam to register their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) examining the Citizenship Amendment Bill is slated to table its report in Lok Sabha on Monday.

Over 30 organisations in Assam have announced a series of protests today against the bill and have decided to observe today as ‘Black Day’, reported Zee News.

Protests erupted at various places in Assam after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government was working to ensure the proposed legislation gets the Parliament’s nod.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant nationality to people belonging to minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of their residence in India.

The final report of the JPC does not have the approval of at least four opposition parties whose members on the panel have moved dissent notes, sources told PTI.

Members of the Congress, TMC, CPI(M) and the Samajwadi Party have moved dissent notes to the JPC report on the bill, sources across these parties said.

Several indigenous organisations in the state have also been opposing the bill as they believe it would harm their cultural identity.

 The Prime Minister, after flagging off the BJP’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in the North East, had said on Friday that the bill was “not for the benefit of anyone but a penance against the injustice and many wrongs done in the past”.

According to News18, different organisations have launched an anti-Bill movement in Brahmaputra Valley to put pressure on the government to reconsider its decision. 

CM shown black flags 

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) showed black flag in front of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s SUV at Dibrugarh on Sunday and briefly interrupted the high-security convoy, forcing the NSG commandos to disembark and clear the way with the help of the Chief Minister’s personal security provided by Assam Police.

Hundreds of members of women’s organisations took everyone by surprise when they gheraoed the BJP state office at Hengerabari area in Guwahati without prior intimation to anyone to lodge their protest against the proposed move by the BJP-led Centre.

“The decision to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is a historic injustice. It is a total dishonour shown to the people of Assam,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Ripun Bora said at Tezpur.

Political reactions

Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of the Congress on Sunday urged political parties of the North East region to snap their partnership with the BJP following Modi’s announcement about the Citizenship Bill.

Sangma also likened Sonowal to Judas, a close disciple of Jesus Christ widely believed to have betrayed the Lord, after he said the BJP-led Assam government would not harm the people’s interests.

He also dared Sonowal to quit the BJP and his post to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people of Assam as the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is moving ahead with The Citizenship Bill.

 Shiv Sena also said that it would oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament. 

The Shiv Sena noted that the proposed legislation would “frustrate” the efforts made under the Assam Accord for safeguarding cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

Secondly, the entire process of the National Register of Citizens monitored by the Supreme Court will be meaningless if the bill is passed, party leader Sanjay Raut added.

JD(U) has also opposed the bill with party leader Sanjay Verma saying the bill will do no good to the identity and culture of Assam and the North East, according to The Times of India.

(with PTI inputs)