By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 24: The State BJP has said that The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 speaks for itself, without needing further clarification. However, the Congress and the Communists have been bent on distorting the very objective of the Bill and making the situation commully sensitive in Assam, the Saffron party said.
Addressing the press at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bhavan in the city today, State BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said: “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – who fled Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan due to religious persecution – eligible for Indian citizenship. With such clarity in its objective, the Bill speaks for itself – without needing further explation. However, the Congress, the Communist and some other organizations have been misleading the people of the State that the Central Government is bent on giving Indian citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus. Such misleading statements by them have been making the situation commully sensitive in Assam. While the Bill speaks of Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians fleeing Pakistan, Bangladeshis and Afghanistan and entering India, they pinpoint their false only on Bangladeshi Hindus. Should we send the Hasongs, Rabhas, Chakmas, Koch-Rajbongshis and others who entered Assam from Bangladesh back? Moreover, the Bill is meant for all over India, while these parties are concerned only with Assam. The Congress and the Communists have made such an impression in Assam that crores of Bangladeshi Hindus have been waiting in Bangladesh border to enter Assam as soon as the Bill gets its passage in Parliament.”
Goswami said: “There’s nothing new in the Bill. Giving Indian citizenship to anyone fleeing Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan was mentioned in the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950. Giving Indian citizenship to religious minorities entering India either from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan under religious persecution has been the avowed policy of the BJP, since its inception in 1980. Moreover, the vision document and the manifesto of the last Assembly election in the State published by the BJP spelt it out in no uncertain terms that the party would provide Indian citizenship to minorities in the three neighbouring countries if they entered India under duress. After making all such policies of the party public, the BJP came to power in Assam with a clear-cut mandate of 60 per cent.”
The BJP spokesperson further said: “The State BJP and the government being led by it are accountable to the Jains, Sikhs, indigenous Muslims and others as they are to the indigenous people of Assam. The BJP government in the State is doing what it assured the people of the State before the election. We talked of eviction in the Kaziranga tiol Park (KNP), and the government is doing that. We also talked of freeing xatra lands and fencing intertiol border with Bangladesh, and the state government is very much on the job. However, while performing this job, the Congress and the Communists have been playing the commul card.”
Accusing the Congress of resorting to doublespeak, Goswami said: “Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi did speak of protection to Hindu Bengalis in his campaign in the Barak Valley in the last Assembly election in the State. He, however, had to speak differently in the Brahmaputra Valley. This is known to all in the State.”
On the Bill, Goswami said: “The joint parliamentary committee with Satya Paul Singh as the chairman has been formed so as to seek opinion from all on the passage of the Bill. Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal has written a letter to the committee’s chairman to come to Assam and take hearing of all parties, organizations and individuals here.”
When asked if the BJP respects the Assam Accord or not, Goswami said: “While the BJP supported the Assam Agitation, the Congress and the Communists didn’t. While the Assam Accord speaks of Assam, the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 speaks of India. We’re accountable to ensure security of the indigenous people of Assam as mentioned in Clause 6(A) of the Assam Accord.”
When asked State Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma terming the Assam Accord not a ‘Gita or Bhagwat’, Goswami said: “This isn’t the statement of the party. This is a persol statement.”
Without ming the AIUDF, Goswami said: “Muslims who entered Assam from East Bengal have been creating problems in the State. They’ve floated a political party in the State are trying to merge Assam with Bangladesh. We want everybody protected in Assam.”
When asked if Assam is going to be another Tripura with higher Bengali population, Goswami said: “There’s no such threat. This is because the birth rates of Bengalis, Indigenous Muslims and Assamese are not high. However, the birth rate of Bangladeshi Muslims in the State is very high. Moreover, opening of new Bengali schools in the State has been stopped since 1970. However, during this period the number of Madrassas has increased manifold in the State.”
The party’s state spokespersons Pabitra Margherita and Manoj Baruah, State Minority Morcha president Mominul Aowal and State BJYM president Diplu Ranjan Sarma were also present at the press meet.