GUWAHATI, Oct 25 - It should have been an issue concerning Constitutional propriety, land-man ratio and overall economic situation. But unfortunately, the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has been reduced to an Assamese-Bengalee-related one.
Social scientists are of the view that during these sensitive times overall caution should be observed by all sections of society to prevent any rift among the people on linguistic and religious lines.
While talking to The Assam Tribune, noted social scientist Prof Udayan Mishra said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill violates provisions of the Assam Accord. This is totally unacceptable. It is almost certain that if passed, it will violate the Constitutional provisions on citizenship, as, citizenship cannot be granted on the basis of religion.
�In all certainty, the Bill should be struck down by the Supreme Court. Moreover, Assam cannot bear the burden of fresh migrants because of its land-man ratio and overall economic situation. These points should have been the focal points of mobilisation,� he said.
But he regretted, �Instead, the entire issue has been made into a highly emotive one relating to the status of the Assamese language. And unfortunately, it seems to have become an Assamese-Bengalee issue, just as it was in the years immediately following Independence. Such polarisation along linguistic lines will prove to be self-destructive,� said the renowned social scientist.
He warned that these are very sensitive times and the media and civil society in Assam must tread very cautiously so as to avoid violence similar to that the people of Assam witnessed in the past. Similarly, a polarisation along religious lines, as desired by some sections of the party in power at the Centre, could prove disastrous, he said.
Sociologist Prof Chandan Sarma of Tezpur University said both Bengalee and Assamese intelligentsia and the civil society organisations should come forward and unite the people of the State, irrespective of their linguistic and religious identity, against any design to cause any schism among the common people on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
The intelligentsia and civil society organisations of both the communities should remove all mutual suspicion that has cropped up at present on this issue. They should go to the people at the grassroots to allay all mutual mistrust and apprehensions among the common people, said Prof Sarma.
However, he maintained that it is also a fact that the apprehensions of the indigenous people of Assam are viewed from a very narrow perspective. This approach should be discarded and the feelings and concerns of the indigenous people should also be read in the right perspective, he said.