EDITORIAL

Decrying the Bill

On Tuesday, as many as 16 ethnic organizations from Assam, or indigenous organizations as they are generally called, had a marathon meeting with the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) in New Delhi in which they voiced their just protest against the BJP-led Centre’s move to convert the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 into a law. The organizations have warned the government, both at the Centre and in the State, of dire consequences if the Bill is passed in Parliament. As All Assam Tribal Sangha president Aditya Khaklari said, “We have cleared our position before the JPC. At any cost we will not accept the Bill. If they pass the Bill, the government, both at the Centre and in the State, will have to face the consequences.” At the same time, the organizations made it clear that the JPC must talk with all other indigenous organizations from Assam as well as from other parts of the Northeast too before taking the final call on the sensitive subject. According to All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya, there are 12 more indigenous organizations in Assam that were left out at Tuesday’s meeting but who are stakeholders in the matter, and so they too should have been invited. He was pointing to the different xahitya xabhas of the State as well as the North East Students’ Organization (NESO), the umbrella front of all major students’ unions of the Northeast.
The ethnic concern in the wake of the Centre’s controversial – or what many would call blatantly anti-ethnic – move to bring in a law to accord citizenship to the religious minorities from neighbouring countries, especially the Hindus of Bangladesh fleeing to safer pastures in Assam and the rest of the Northeast following their religious persecution in Muslim-dominated Bangladesh still in the grip of Islamic zealots, is not misplaced. Of all the States in the Northeast, it is Assam that has served as the best living and breeding space for illegal Bangladeshis, both Hindu and Muslim, all along. Therefore, it is Assam that faces the greatest peril of it being flooded by foreign nationals yet again just because the impression has gone out that it is Assam where ‘secularists’ of all hues have no qualms at all in laying down a red-carpet welcome to aliens for nasty political gains even at the cost of the very security and sovereignty of the very land where they have taken birth. You know what this is called? Treason of the most perverse kind. And yet we are told by the ‘secular’ configuration that Assam has nothing to lose if the Bill in question mutates into what we would say yet another act of immigration perversity forced on us like the now-abrogated IM(DT) Act that allowed illegal Bangladeshis to graduate to Indian citizens in Assam and serve as the most cherished vote bank for ‘secular’ fronts, chiefly the Congress that was the IM(DT) Act architect in 1983. This is not permissible.
The point is rather simple. Assam has been the dumping ground from people from East Bengal/East Pakistan/Bangladesh all along, thanks to the fertile plains of the Brahmaputra valley, the existence of an economic vacuum here, and a perverse political mindset of the Congress ilk that has all along craved to reign the corridors of power in the State by consolidating the illegal vote bank in the name of ‘minorities’ welfare within the framework of a very distorted brand of secularism. It cannot, therefore, be allowed to remain so now, given that illegal Bangladeshis are already kingmakers in the State as observed by the judiciary too. Resist the Bill. Ensure that the existing threat to ethnicity here does not multiply. This is a patriotic duty.