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Only safeguard can bar locals from becoming minority: PVM

GUWAHATI, May 19: Prabajan Virodhi Mancha (PVM) convener Upamanyu Hazarika has said that it is only the constitutional safeguard that can prevent the indigenous people of Assam from becoming minorities in Assam.
The mancha submitted memoranda from over forty locations in upper and central Assam signed by over four lakh people to the Prime Minister demanding constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people of Assam and revocation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. By constitutional safeguards, Hazarika means to say reservation of land, other resources, government jobs, trade licenses and reservation in education for the people of the State by taking 1951 as cut-off year.

In a statement issued to the press on Saturday, Hazarika said: “There’s not hue and cry over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 among the people in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur. The reason behind this is that land resources, government jobs, trade licenses, education facilities etc are reserved for the indigenous people in the neighbouring States. Even if the new Bill gets its passage, that is not going to affect the indigenous people in the five neighbouring States of Assam. Taking that in view, Assam should also get such a constitutional safeguard based on 1951 as the cut-off year.”

Meanwhile, the PVM has sent a strong message from upper and central Assam to the government and all political parties that they have no right to mortgage the future of the indigenous people of the State for their interests. “All political parties should make their stand clear before coming to seek votes from the people of the State. Before the next election, they should legislate laws to safeguard the future of the indigenous people of the State,” Hazarika said.

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Ankur Kalita