Grant citizenship to Hindu-Buddhist refugees: APCC

Congress ploy to counter BJP gameplan for 2016

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, June 1: Less than a year before the State goes to polls, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee has decided to urge the Central government to grant citizenship to all migrants, who were part of undivided India, but had later fled their countries due to religious persecution and discrimition.

The resolution by the Pradesh Congress Committee has come a year after the Tarun Gogoi government decided to request the Centre to frame a policy for granting asylum on humanitarian grounds to people who fled their countries due to religious persecution and discrimition and took refuge in India.

Chief Minister Gogoi had submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 20, 2012, pleading that Indian citizens who had to flee due to religious persecution and discrimition at the time of partition should not be treated as foreigners on humanitarian grounds.

At a press conference today, APCC president Anjan Dutta said the executive committee of the party recently discussed the unresolved citizenship issue of the Bengali Hindus, Buddhists and people from other communities who crossed over to Assam persecution and torture after partition of the country. “The APCC has decided to urge the Central government to grant citizenship to all such people, taking into consideration the historical reality and humanitarian aspect involved,” Dutta said, also mentioning that his party favours no6 cut-off date for the exercise.

“Even if a person takes refuge in Assam today, he should be given citizenship,” Dutta insisted.

The APCC resolution goes against the Assam Accord which stipulates that those who entered Assam after March 25, 1971, must be detected and deported from the State, irrespective of religion. The Congress had during the 2011 Assembly elections played a similar trump card in Barak valley where it was able to bag 14 of the 15 seats.

The BJP government at the Centre also favours granting citizenship to Hindu migrants from Bangladesh. BJP tiol president Amit Shah during a party workers rally in Guwahati recently said owing to religious persecution Hindus are forced to leave Bangladesh. "We will take care of them, provide them shelter. However this burden will not be shared by Assam alone but by the whole country."

The APCC also criticized the “double speak” policies of the rendra Modi government and wondered as to “how many Bangladeshis actually left Assam after Modi’s tall claims during election rallies that all Bangladeshis would have to leave Assam after May 16, 2014”.

“On the contrary, Modi government’s soft corner towards Bangladesh has been exposed by its decision to relax the present visa system for Bangladeshi citizens,” Dutta said.

The Congress also took strong exception to Prime Minister rendra Modi sidestepping the issues of border dispute and dams on the Brahmaputra during his recent visit to Chi, despite being requested to raise these issues in Beijing by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

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