It's Barak Valley versus Brahmaputra Valley over citizenship amendment bill

It's Barak Valley versus Brahmaputra Valley over citizenship amendment bill”

Guwahati: Bogged down by internal conflict over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Opposition Congress has sought a referendum on the controversial bill in Assam to solicit the view of the indigenous people of the state. The programme was organised by the state-level advisory committee on students and youth welfare. "When we are asking him to take a strong stand, he is silent", Mriganka Roy, a student, said.

The Northeast Students' Organisation (NESO) leaders led by its chairman, Samuel B Jyrwa and adviser, Samujjal Kr Bhattacharya met the JPC team for almost an hour and submitted a memorandum opposing the Bill. The state government will not take any decision that is inimical to the interests of people.

Stating that the Bill would defeat the objective of signing the Assam Accord where March 25, 1971 was fixed as the cut off year for detection and deportation of foreigners from Assam, the NESO said, "In totality, we oppose the bill and demand that Inner Line Permit system be introduced for the entire North-eastern region".

Several organisations and citizens took out a procession to voice their concern against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, saying it would breach the clauses of the Assam Accord that states that all illegal foreigners who came to Assam after 1971 from Bangladesh, irrespective of their religion, have to be deported. "It was due to his efforts that saw the IMDT (Illegal Migrants' Determination Tribunal) Act, which made detection of immigrants hard, being struck down (by the Supreme Court)", the state's Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told reporters in Guwahati. "It is not double-speak but triple-speak", the Minister said. "The government will make its position known once the entire NRC exercise is over", the Minister said.

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Patowary said the major challenge before the state now is to ensure that a flawless updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) is presented before May 31, the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

"We want a correct NRC, which is being updated under the directives of the Supreme Court, to protect the identity of the Assamese people", he said. While the first draft of the NRC was published on December 31, 2017, the final draft of the historical document will be published within June this year. "We will let the people of the state know about our opinion only after the NRC process is completed", he added. "The culture will be destroyed if the Bill is passed", said Atul Bora, AGP president and cabinet minister, who has threatened to resign. "They should understand what problems may arise with this amendment", Mahanta said. Those Hindus from Bangladesh fleeing to India to escape persecution have been living in NE and Bengal since long without citizenship rights. Will Assamese language be replaced with Bengali as the official language?

Chakmas and Hajongs are Buddhists and Hindus respectively.

In Tinsukia, the All Tai Ahom Students' Union took out a torch-lit rally from Tamulbari field and the All Assam Students' Union staged a two-hour rail blockade at Siding railway crossing, opposing the citizenship bill, on Thursday.

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