GUWAHATI: State Finance, Health and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced on the floor of the Assam Assembly that he will quit politics if the number of Hindu Bangladeshis to be benefited under the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) exceeds 5 lakh even by a single person.
Participating in the debate on the Governor’s speech in a daylong special session of the Assembly on Monday evening, Sarma said the present government at Dispur would be accountable and he would put an end to his political career if the five lakh figure of Hindu Bangladeshis to be benefited by the CAA is exceeded by a single person. At the same time, Sarma also appealed to the Congress leaders to quit politics if the figure of Hindu Bangladeshis (supposed to come to Assam as CAA beneficiaries) does not touch one crore by a single person.
Sarma also assured the House that 5 lakh Hindu Bangladeshis would not make the future of Assam and the Assamese insecure. “A Hindu Bangladeshi will never become the Chief Minister of Assam,” he said.
“Before passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had held a meeting with all ethnic organizations, including the All Assam Students’ Union. During the meeting, Shah said that there are 70 lakh Bangladeshis in Assam, including 5 lakh Hindu Bangladeshis. Shah said the rest of Bangladeshis will be detected through a new NRC. The Home Minister appealed to the AASU to accept the Hindu Bangladeshis through the CAA. But the AASU didn’t accept the proposal, and hence the issue remains unresolved,” Sarma claimed.
He said the Centre will soon frame rules to enforce the CAA, and in case of Assam at least three to six months will be given to the Hindu Bangladeshis to apply for citizenship. “So the issue of fear and uncertainty about the number of Hindu Bangladeshis as beneficiaries of the CAA will come to an end within this year,” he said.
Saying that the Assam Accord has many unresolved issues, Sarma said the decision on NRC update had been taken only after a tripartite meeting between the Centre, the State Government and the AASU under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Sarma pointed out that the previous Congress regimes at the Centre had amended the Citizenship Act in 1987 and 1993 to introduce a few ‘dangerous’ provisions of declaring children of illegal Bangladeshis as Indians. “The 1993 amendment paved the way for the children of illegal Bangladeshis to get Indian citizenship if either of the parents was an Indian,” he said, adding that such a dangerous provision was done away with by the then Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government in 2003.
Sarma also claimed that January 1, 1966 should have been the cut-off year for detection and deportation of infiltrators in the Assam Accord.
Participating in the debate, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told the Assembly that the CAA would destroy the Assamese language, culture and identity. Gogoi accused Himanta Biswa Sarma of doing Hindu-Muslim politics through the CAA.