Guwahati, April 5: Huge resentment rules the roost among the indigenous people of Assam in the matter of providing citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshi tiols. In the matter of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the local people are of the view that the Centre has brought in the Bill with a view to granting citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshi tiols .
Significantly, as per the Assam Accord, all those foreigners who entered Assam prior to midnight of March 24, 1971 are to be treated a citizens irrespective their language, religion and the like.
On the other hand NRC update work is also in progress in the state and the view held by the locals is that the Bill brought in by the Centre may upset the proper updating process of the NRC.
Meanwhile, a Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by Rajendra Agarwala as Chairman has called for a public hearing on the Bill in New Delhi on April 12. Accordingly various parties and organizations have been invited to attend the hearing. It may be recalled that earlier too on several occasions the said meeting was called but was postponed.
Meanwhile several organizations and individuals in Assam have alleged that there has been no such open invitations. The allegation runs thick that only some selected organizations who support the Bill have been invited, whereas those who have been in the forefront opposing the bill have been kept in the dark. There is also opposition to the hearing being held in Delhi and not in Assam However, the state BJP has welcomed the hearing and has opined that all the misgivings and misunderstandings in respect of the bill would be done away with through the hearing and that an acceptable solution to the problem would emerge.
Meanwhile, the ‘Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill’, (earlier known as Conscious Citizens Forum), that had earlier submitted a memorandum to the JPC Chief to look into the issue, is of the view that the tive people of Assam are deeply dismayed that the proposed amendment, 2016 may bring about a catastrophic cultural-political shift in the State through an abrupt and enormous expansion in the number of legitimate citizens. The group opines that the Bill threatens to alter the socio-cultural profile of the State and endanger the identity of tives with historic roots.
It may be recalled that the Assam Movement (1979-1985) was triggered by alarm over such influx many of whom were foreigners. Owing to the demographic changes the Assam Accord, 1985, which led to the movement to an end, was itself initially resisted by many groups, resulting in continuing unrest, vicious mutual suspicion and occasiol clashes.