GUWAHATI, Oct 14 - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government at the Centre is trying to pose hurdles in the way of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by bringing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill also aims to dilute the Assam Accord and the ruling party is trying to bring the Bill in the Parliament only to protect its vote bank of foreign nationals. This was the allegation of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU).
Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya pointed out that before coming to power, the BJP had promised to protect the interests of the indigenous people of the State and after assuming power, the party made a complete U turn and is desperately trying to protect the vote bank of foreigners. At the same time, he said that the Congress failed to clarify its stand on the Bill as different leaders of the party are giving different views.
Bhattacharya said that the Assam Accord clearly indicated that all foreigners, who came to the State after the midnight of March 24, 1971 should be detected and deported irrespective of their religion but unfortunately, successive Governments failed to implement the Accord and now the BJP-led Government is trying to give citizenship to the foreigners who came to the State up to 2014. He said that in addition to the Bill, the Centre had also passed the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 and Passport (Entry into India) notification, 2015 and is trying to provide long term visa to foreigners. The AASU and indigenous people of the State will continue to oppose such actions by the Government of India, he asserted.
The AASU chief adviser pointed out that the process of updating the NRC on the basis of the NRC of 1951 and the voters' lists up to 1971 under the constant monitoring of the Supreme Court, is in its final stage with the process of claims and objections on the draft of it is going on and by bringing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at this stage, the Government is trying to obstruct the process. On the day the draft of the NRC was published, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had claimed that it would give protection to the indigenous people of the State, while, the BJP president Amit Shah also claimed credit for the NRC and asserted that the foreign nationals would be deported from the country. They should keep their word and ensure full support to the process of updating the NRC instead of trying to pose hurdles in the way, he added.
Criticizing the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) formed to examine the Bill, Bhattacharya said that the JPC only visited Guwahati and Silchar in Assam and Shillong in Meghalaya. The JPC should have visited different parts of the State to get the feelings of the people. The JPC should also have visited Garo Hills in Meghalaya as the area is facing problem due to infiltration of foreigners, while, the report of the JPC would be incomplete without taking the views of the people of other states of the region, he added.