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AASU, NESO warn Centre of stir

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Oct 13 - At a time when the Joint Parliamentary Committee, formed to examine different aspects of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which aims to provide citizenship to foreigners who came to India due to religious persecution, has started public hearings, the NESO and the AASU have warned that a regionwide movement would be launched if the Bill is imposed against the wishes of the indigenous people.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya, who is also the adviser of NESO, said they would never accept the Bill which would increase the burden of foreigners in the region and pose a grave threat to the identity of the indigenous people. No other part of India is facing such a major threat from unabated infiltration of foreigners and instead of adding to the burden, the Government of India should provide constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people as per the provisions of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, he pointed out.

The AASU, NESO and 28 organisations representing different ethnic groups of the State have already submitted memoranda to the JPC opposing the Bill. The AASU, in its memorandum, pointed out that the Bill would violate the provisions of the Assam Accord. As per the provisions of the Accord, all foreigners, irrespective of their religion, who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 would be detected and expelled from India. While scrapping the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, the Supreme Court had also pointed out that Assam was facing external aggression and internal disturbance due to illegal migration. On the other hand, the Gauhati High Court had also pointed out, time and again, that foreigners have become kingmakers in the State. Under the circumstances, it would not be acceptable for the people of Assam to accept any more burden of foreigners, the AASU said in its memorandum.

The NESO submitted a similar memorandum, while 28 organisations representing different ethnic groups of the State, while opposing the Bill, pointed out that it would violate the secular principles of the Constitution of India. The organisations also stressed that the population pattern of Assam is changing due to illegal migration and the Government�s move would further complicate the situation.

Meanwhile, Bhattacharya said that they are yet to get any official response from the JPC after the submission of the memoranda. But, at the same time, he said that one of the members of the JPC had told them informally that different organisations of the State would be called in a phased manner for discussions.

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