GUWAHATI, Aug 6 - NDA partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) today asserted that it would foil any attempt by the Centre to grant Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants on the basis of religion.
The regional party also said that the foreigners issue is no longer merely confined to Assam. In fact, it affects the entire country and called for a nationwide NRC. Addressing a press meet here, AGP president and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said that the NRC update process is the culmination of a long struggle by the people of Assam and called for a �hundred per cent error-free NRC�.
He added that the NRC update exercise is a major step for solving the decades-old foreigners problem of Assam. Bora said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and some other proposed changes with regard to passport rules seek to grant citizenship to people on the basis of religion and that goes against the spirit of the Assam Accord as well as the NRC exercise.
He said any back-handed means of the Central government to grant Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants through amendments in the citizenship laws and passport rules would nullify the updated NRC.
Opposing the Centre�s attempt to convert illegal immigrants into Indian citizens citing the factor of religion and religious persecution in neighbouring countries, Bora called upon the Modi government to immediately shelve plans to pass the Citizenship Bill or to change passport rules.
Failure to do so would mean that Assam would continue to remain a safe haven for illegal immigrants, said the senior leader.
�We will oppose any attempt by the Centre to grant citizenship to any foreigner on the basis of religion. We will foil any such attempt at any cost,� said Bora, adding that all those who entered Assam illegally after March 24, 1971, must leave.
He expressed gratitude to BJP chief Amit Shah for terming the NRC the soul of the Assam Accord. �So we request him (Shah) to take the lead in safeguarding the soul of the Assam Accord and take steps to withdraw the Citizenship Bill. Otherwise, the NRC will lose its true purpose,� Bora said.
He added, �The problem of illegal immigrants is no longer confined only to Assam. It now affects the entire country and presents a threat to India�s politics, economy and society. So we call for a nationwide NRC.�