NEW DELHI, Sept 29 - Expressing its reservation over the newly drafted Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) has suggested that the migrant Hindu Bengalis should not be conferred any rights in Assam or in other northeastern States and that the Citizenship Act of 1955 should be amended.
Filing its response to the select committee constituted for consideration of the Citizen (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Upamanyu Hazarika-led organisation has recommended that the Citizenship Act, 1955 should be amended to ensure that neither illegal migrants after March 25, 1971 nor their children born in Assam should acquire citizenship.
Keeping in mind the massive demographic changes which is reducing the indigenous people to a minority and recognising and respecting the verdict of the Supreme Court, this newly granted category of citizens should not be conferred any rights in neither Assam nor in other northeastern States, the Manch said.
Though the Bill is concerned only with conferring citizenship upon minorities in neighbouring counties, it completely excludes and ignores the fate of the indigenous people in Assam who would in turn become minority in their State by 2040 due to the influx from Bangladesh, the petition said.
�We request the committee to first give priority to the indigenous inhabitants of Assam and ensure that they do not become a minority in their own State. The Supreme Court had, in the case of Sarbananda Sonowal in 2005, itself categorically held that indigenous people are turning into a minority, for which emergency provisions of the Constitution requires to be invoked and consequently requires using military and para military forces to deal with this invasion, the Manch added.
The committee has also been informed about the grant of citizenship by birth to children of illegal migrants after 1971, owing to lacunae in the law and these needs to be corrected so that after 25th March 1971 both illegal migrants and their children born in Assam should not get citizenship by birth, Hazarika said.
Hazarika said the committee will be travelling the States and that it has been requested that it should consult with the Central and State governments to take steps comprehensively whether by legislation or by policy measure to ensure that indigenous people do not become a minority.
One very disturbing feature is that neither the State government nor the political parties in Assam have made their stand clear on this subject. It is the duty of the State government and the political parties in Assam, particularly elected representatives to the Assembly and Parliament, to appraise the Central government and the committee about the gravity of the threat faced by the indigenous people and the steps need to be taken against it.
The only manner in which the indigenous people in Assam can be saved from becoming a minority is by reserving land and other resources only for those who were citizens of India and residents in Assam in 1951 and their progeny, opined Hazarika.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Action Committee for Assam on Thursday staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here opposing the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.