GUWAHATI, June 22: Outnumbered by people of Bangladeshi origin, the indigenous people of the Barak valley feel cornered without even being able to exercise the freedom of expression. They feel that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is a move to drive a wedge between the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys.
To portray the true picture of the indigenous people of the Barak valley vis-à-vis the people of Bangladeshi origin, some representatives of indigenous organizations of the valley addressed the media in Guwahati on Friday. Hailing from Karimganj district, Sahadul Islam Choudhury said: “There has been a misunderstanding between the Brahmaputra valley and the Barak valley on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. An active lobby has been giving an impression that all people of the Barak Valley support the Bill. This is far from reality. Their aim is to make Assam a State full of Bangladeshis as it has happened in Tripura. One of their agenda is to make the Barak Valley the headquarters of Bangladesh. The RSS and all organizations allegiant to it are involved in this conspiracy.”
Spelling out political patronage to the conspiracy, Choudhury alleged that there were instances of people of Bangladesh origin becoming legislators from the valley.
On the number of indigenous organizations in the Valley opposing the Bill, Choudhury said: “Only 20 of the 300 organizations which supported the Bill before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) are genuine. We feel hemmed in the valley where we can’t even exercise freedom of expression. We hope the indigenous organizations of the valley will come out to express their opinions before the JPC if there’s second hearing.”
The representatives of indigenous organizations of the Barak valley are supposed to tour the entire Brahmaputra valley and express their views and let the people here know that the Barak valley has around 50 per cent indigenous people who love Assam and Assamese.
Khilonjia Mancha, Asom (KMA) leader Mrinal Hazarika said: “There has been a false campaign in the Barak valley that 90 per cent of its people support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. We paid a visit to the valley to gauge the real picture there. We tried to hold a public meeting there on May 30, but we were not allowed. However, we could form an organization of indigenous people against the Bill there. The organization is going to speak on behalf of the indigenous people of Barak Valley in the days to come.”