Silchar, June 22: There has been lot of misconception and misinformation campaign against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 in Brahmaputra Valley by some organizations. North East Linguistic and Ethnic Coordination Committee (NELEC) at a public meeting here on Friday demolished the myths to put the record straight. Santanu Naik, frontline leader, said the Bill in question is to provide protection and shelter to the minorities, victims of religious persecution, Hindu, Sikh, Budhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian, migrating from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan on or before December 31, 2014 and staying in India without valid documents. They will be accorded citizenship under the Constitutional provision of ‘naturalisation, of course with certain conditions which among others specify if these persecuted people apply for citizenship, they will be provided.
It is most unfortunate, pointed out Dr Bibas Deb, working president of NELEC that some organizations have resorted to propagation of distorted facts about the proposed Bill and creating confusion and a sense of hatred among the people, leading to a volatile situation in the state. He called it a blatant lie that the Bill is designed to migrate Hindu Bangladeshis. There is no word like Hindu Bengali in the Bill. It is also a myth that 1.5 crore Hindus have come to Assam. Assam will not become another Tripura, but Kashmir, the historical and demographic facts substantiate it, he pointed out.
Presently, 9 districts are Muslim dominated and the Census figures hint at 5 more districts to attain that status in near future. The number of Hindus migrating from Bangladesh between March 25, 1971 and December 31, 2014 is quite negligible. Assam has never faced any crisis from the Hindu Bengalis in respect of Assamese identity and culture. There is a deeper conspiracy to undermine the reality of enveloping situation. Extraneous and internal forces have become active to inflame the passion of communalism on the pretext of Hindu aggression which is in fact an exercise to balkanize Assam. These elements have again raised the bogey of ‘Cachar being a cancer on the body polity of Assam’.
Thelis Nennar, member of NELEC, said Assam is a polyglot state and its overall progress and development is the combined and concerted efforts of all cultural and linguistic groups. This is a historical fact. Manju Dimasa and Loving Stone, members in identical manner pointed out more damaging is the misinformation campaign the passage of Bill will jeopardize existence of Assamese language. Ground reality is that not even a single Bengali medium school has come up in Brahmaputra Valley against mushrooming madrassas, maqtabs and English medium schools. Those opposing the Bill are playing second fiddle to disruptive forces and are paving the way for greater injury to Assamese culture, language and identity.
Others who spoke included Thoiba Singh and Benu Dorjee who said it is an open secret to identify the elements who have occupied forested lands, including reserve forests, and the lands of Xastras. Even the holy birth place of Shankardeva in Nagaon has been encroached upon. Santanu Naik said time has come to think about the dangers lying ahead and also the forces active to vivisect Assam. NELEC has come out with its holistic approach on the Bill to protect all linguistic and ethnic groups of Assam and northeast in general and also mobilize their support for the Bill. Victims of religious persecution from the neighbouring countries are to be given shelter and protection and most importantly to foil the sinister design to make Assam another Kashmir. Significantly, at this conclave were present representatives from Naga, Khasi, Manipuri, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Hmar, Nepali and other tribal groups who all in unison supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.