GUWAHATI, Oct 25 - The All Assam Students� Union (AASU) has called upon Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to clarify his position on whether he would stand up for the interests of the indigenous people of Assam or would we follow the diktats of the central leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to support the cause of foreign nationals.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya pointed out that time and again, Sonowal had been claiming that he would not do anything against the interests of Assam, and now the time has come for him to justify his words by opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which would go against the indigenous people of the State. He said that Sonowal had fought a legal battle in the Supreme Court against the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act as a former president of the AASU when the political leadership of the country did not pay heed to the demands of the people. Now he himself is the Chief Minister of the State and should stand up on behalf of the indigenous people and take a bold stand against the Bill, the AASU chief adviser said.
Bhattacharya reminded Sonowal that former Chief Minister Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi had the courage to stand up in favour of the indigenous people of Assam and strongly opposed the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru�s idea of giving land in the State to settle refugees in Assam. Sonowal should also show his boldness by standing up in favour of the indigenous people, he added. He further pointed out that though the Meghalaya government is functioning with support of the BJP, the Chief Minister of the State boldly stood up against the Bill and even the Meghalaya Cabinet passed a resolution against it to protect the interests of the indigenous people. The Assam Cabinet should have the boldness to adopt such a resolution, he added.
Hitting out against the BJP, Bhattacharya said that before the general elections in 2014, Narendra Modi had promised to detect and deport foreigners living in the country illegally, but after becoming the Prime Minister, he tried to protect the interests of the foreigners. On the other hand, the BJP had termed the State Assembly elections in 2016 as the second battle of Saraighat, but after coming to power, it is also trying to give citizenship to foreigners.
Bhattacharya further said that the AASU and 28 organisations representing various ethnic groups have been agitating since the Bill was introduced in the Parliament, while, the North East Students� Organization (NESO) has carried out a regionwide movement. He said the movement would continue till the Bill is scrapped as the AASU would not allow the Government to dilute the spirit of the Assam Accord, which said that the foreigners who entered India after the midnight of March 24, 1971, would be detected and deported. He also asserted that the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015, and the Passport (Entry into India) notification, 2015, should also be scrapped.