Citizen group opposes amendment in Citizen Act 1955
GUWAHATI, Sept 22: A meeting of conscious citizens of the city representing all sections of political opinion and all social groups of Assam, held at the Press Club here on Wednesday, expressed a sense of shock and anguish at the proposed 2016 amendment of the Citizenship Act 1955, now under consideration of the Joint Select Committee of the Parliament, stated a release.
It was unimously held in the meeting that in view of the vast number of Bangladeshi Hindu immigrants who have poured into Assam since 1971, the proposed amendment will pose a grave existential threat to the various communities indigenous to the state.
A six point resolution was adopted in the meeting against the proposed amendments. The resolution says that the date of March 24, 1971 has been accepted after a tumultuous period of resistance and opposition, by all communities resident in Assam, as the cut-off date for determition of citizenship. The tiol Register of Citizens is being presently updated in Assam following a stringent directive from the Supreme Court. This cut-off date, it may be emphasized, is irrespective of linguistic and religious affiliation. Any step that puts any obstacles to the updating of the NRC by way of doubt, confusion or uncertainty is most likely to reintroduce the serious instability, commul ill will and conflict that had plagued Assam for three decades and jeopardizing peace and progress of this region. Hence the updating of the NRC must be top priority and carried out in a spirit of utmost urgency, so that a basis of permanent peace and orderly progress may be established in this region.
It further stated that all the organizations in the state devoted to protection of identity and economic and political interest of various indigenous communities of the region are alerted to the need for urgent action on this issue and mobilize the people for opposition to the proposed amendment. Organizations representing the interest of people of various communities who had immigrated between 1947 and 1971 are also hereby urged to take appropriate action on support of their brothers from indigenous communities.
Another resolution which was taken states, since the period of time allotted for submission of views regarding the proposed amendment is extremely short (the deadline being September 30, 2016) in relation to the magnitude of the crisis it poses for indigenous communities, the Joint Select Committee is hereby urged to extend the date at least for a month. Further since the gravity and the complexity and the consequences of the Act are largely unknown to people outside the state, the Joint Select Committee is urged to visit the state, exaimine the situation, and receive representations and memoranda from the people whom the proposed amendment is going to affect.
The citizen group also urged all the organizations that claim to represent the interest of the indigenous people, including Asom Sahitya Sabha, Asom Ga Parishad, the All Assam Students’ Union and the Assam Jatiyotabadi Yuva Parishad are hereby urged to declare their opposition to the dangerous amendment and organize public opinion against it.
The members of the citizen group included Dr Hiren Gohain, Prof Udayaditya Bharali, Prof Apurba Barua, Dr Dinesh Baishya, Prof Manorama Sharma, Manjit Mahanta, Dr Akhil Ranjan Dutta and Kiran Gogoi.