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AGP meets Rajnath again, opposes Bill

Our Bureau
NEW DELHI/GUWAHATI, June 12: Yet again a delegation of the AGP, this time around from the AGP Legislature Party, has met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and let him know as to how passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is going to affect Assam.

The AGPLP team led by party president and minister Atul Bora had Cabinet ministers Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhushan Choudhury, former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahnata, former party president and MLA Brindabon Goswami and others. Meeting Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday, the AGP team told him that if the Bill got its passage Assam would be badly affected on many fronts. The delegation of the regional party has also got the message across that the sentiment of the people of Assam is against the Bill.

“Assam has already shouldered the burden of foreigners to have entered the State till March 25, 1971 against the accepted cut-off year of 1951 elsewhere in the country. Now Assam cannot shoulder the burden of any more foreigners,” the party quoted its delegation as telling Singh, adding: “Since the onus of protecting Assam lies with the Centre, it should withdraw the anti-national Bill immediately.”

Talking to the media in New Delhi after meeting Singh, AGP president Atul Bora said: “We’ve made the Union Home Minister known that passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will affect Assam economically, socially and politically, besides dealing a blow to the Assamese language, literature and culture. This apart, if the Bill gets its passage, it will violate the Assam Accord that was reached after the sacrifice of over 855 martyrs. We, therefore, oppose the Bill. The Home Minister has told us that all stakeholders will be taken into confidence before taking any decision on the Bill.”

The Union Home Secretary and the Joint Secretary for the Northeast were also present at the meeting.

This is not the first time that the AGP has opposed the Bill before the Centre directly. The party leaders did meet the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and the Joint Parliamentary Party (JPC) twice earlier opposing the Bill. In the State the party has been staging agitation against the Bill, besides carrying out a signature campaign against it.