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AALA wants adequate safeguards for Assam

STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 8: Senior advocate Kamal Nayan Choudhury has said that it is unfair to consider Assam as a dumping ground of Bangladeshi nationals. He hopes that good sense will prevail with the Centre on this issue.
Chudhury said this at the press meet of the All Assam Lawyers’ Association (AALA) in Guwahati on Tuesday. He has said that none in the State should create unrest by supporting the ideology of the RSS. “The people of Assam don’t accept the ideology of the RSS, and not should they do,” he said. 
In its memorandum submitted to the JPC during the hearing on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the lawyers’ body advocated for adequate safeguards to be given to the people of Assam by providing for relocation of Hindu Bengalis in other parts of the country with a further rider that this class of migrants who are sought to be conferred Citizenship on account of being prosecuted are not permitted to come back to Assam and shall not be entitled to any political and economic rights within the state on the plea of Article 19.
In its memorandum the apex body pointed out that the historic Assam Accord, 1985 and consequent amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955 legitimacy has already been given to the illegal immigrants from erstwhile East Pakistan whose stay in the state of Assam up to 1971 already stands legalized. However, there is a mandate by virtue of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 that all the foreigners from Bangladesh who came to Assam on or after 1971 alone are liable to be deported in accordance with law. In the process, Assam has already absorbed millions of illegal migrants from Bangladesh up to March 25, 1971.
“The proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2016 which seeks to confer citizenship to Hindu migrants’ up to 31 December, 2014 fructifies, Assam would be further burdened as there are lakhs of Hindu Bengalis who are taking shelter in Assam post-1971,” said the release. Observing that the legislation may suffer from constitutional infirmities, the release further said, “It is true that Article 5 to 9 may not impose any fetter on the power of the Parliament under article 11 to make a law on acquisition and termination of citizenship, but the issue is whether the proposed legislation which seeks to prescribe a cutoff date of December 31, 2014 is permissible in view of a cutoff date already stands prescribed by Article 6.”

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Ankur Kalita