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Call for logical debate on Citizenship Bill

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Dec 26 - Expressing annoyance over a section of Assamese intellectuals and civil society groups for projecting the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 in a biased perception, the Patriotic People�s Front Assam (PPFA) has called for a healthy debate over the matter.

The forum pointed out that �motivated elements� had been claiming, as if, the concerned Bill is Assam-centric and once it turns into a law, millions of Bengali Hindu people from Bangladesh would be dumped in the State and the practice will continue for decades.

�Biased individuals have cleverly concealed the fact that the asylum seekers belonging to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities had already taken shelter in India and there is no provision in the amendments to bring more Bangladeshis (or Pakistani and Afghan nationals) after December 31, 2014.

�Moreover, they are not merely Bengali Hindus, but a mix of Rajbongshis, Hajongs, Jayantiyas, Bishnupriyas, Chakmas, Garos, Khasis, Adivasis, etc. We should not forget that all these people became victims of Pakistan�s partition gameplan and had to live in a foreign land, for the creation of which they were not responsible at all,� said the PPFA in a statement.

The forum also urged the Sarbananda Sonowal-led State government to clarify the contents of the Bill seeking to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 with the provisions to grant citizenship to those persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh after due processes, so that the indigenous populace do not get misguided and panicky.

Extending support to the initiative, the PPFA, however, called for equal distribution of those asylum seekers from the neighbouring countries across India. Moreover, those who prefer to stay legally in Assam, the forum asked them to adopt the Assamese language as their medium of instructions.

�Adopting the Assamese language as the medium of official language by those settlers would help in promoting the Assamese culture and also in contributing for a stronger and safer India. Their goodwill will also remove the linguistic threat perception to the indigenous populace of Assam,� asserted the statement.

The PPFA also reiterated its old stand to detect all immigrants from the then East Pakistan (and later Bangladesh) with the cut-off year of 1951 as it is applicable to the entire nation. The organisation also urged the Union government to consider offering work permits (without voting rights) to those immigrants in case their deportation becomes impossible due to serious humanitarian and international crisis.

Batting for 1951 as the base year to detect foreigners, the PPFA argued that the spirit of the Assam Movement (1979 to 1985) was to deport all foreigners since 1951, for which over 850 martyrs � Khargeswar Talukder being the first � sacrificed their lives.

It further said that the immigrants who entered India after 1951 till December 16, 1971 should be treated as East Pakistani nationals, as Bangladesh emerged as a sovereign nation only after December 16 (not March 25, 1971, as often reported in the media) following the surrender of Pakistani forces under the leadership of AAK Niazi to the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini. Their �Father of the Nation� Sheikh Mujibur Rahman only declared independence of Bangladesh in the late hours of March 25, 1971.

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Call for logical debate on Citizenship Bill

GUWAHATI, Dec 26 - Expressing annoyance over a section of Assamese intellectuals and civil society groups for projecting the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 in a biased perception, the Patriotic People�s Front Assam (PPFA) has called for a healthy debate over the matter.

The forum pointed out that �motivated elements� had been claiming, as if, the concerned Bill is Assam-centric and once it turns into a law, millions of Bengali Hindu people from Bangladesh would be dumped in the State and the practice will continue for decades.

�Biased individuals have cleverly concealed the fact that the asylum seekers belonging to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities had already taken shelter in India and there is no provision in the amendments to bring more Bangladeshis (or Pakistani and Afghan nationals) after December 31, 2014.

�Moreover, they are not merely Bengali Hindus, but a mix of Rajbongshis, Hajongs, Jayantiyas, Bishnupriyas, Chakmas, Garos, Khasis, Adivasis, etc. We should not forget that all these people became victims of Pakistan�s partition gameplan and had to live in a foreign land, for the creation of which they were not responsible at all,� said the PPFA in a statement.

The forum also urged the Sarbananda Sonowal-led State government to clarify the contents of the Bill seeking to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 with the provisions to grant citizenship to those persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh after due processes, so that the indigenous populace do not get misguided and panicky.

Extending support to the initiative, the PPFA, however, called for equal distribution of those asylum seekers from the neighbouring countries across India. Moreover, those who prefer to stay legally in Assam, the forum asked them to adopt the Assamese language as their medium of instructions.

�Adopting the Assamese language as the medium of official language by those settlers would help in promoting the Assamese culture and also in contributing for a stronger and safer India. Their goodwill will also remove the linguistic threat perception to the indigenous populace of Assam,� asserted the statement.

The PPFA also reiterated its old stand to detect all immigrants from the then East Pakistan (and later Bangladesh) with the cut-off year of 1951 as it is applicable to the entire nation. The organisation also urged the Union government to consider offering work permits (without voting rights) to those immigrants in case their deportation becomes impossible due to serious humanitarian and international crisis.

Batting for 1951 as the base year to detect foreigners, the PPFA argued that the spirit of the Assam Movement (1979 to 1985) was to deport all foreigners since 1951, for which over 850 martyrs � Khargeswar Talukder being the first � sacrificed their lives.

It further said that the immigrants who entered India after 1951 till December 16, 1971 should be treated as East Pakistani nationals, as Bangladesh emerged as a sovereign nation only after December 16 (not March 25, 1971, as often reported in the media) following the surrender of Pakistani forces under the leadership of AAK Niazi to the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini. Their �Father of the Nation� Sheikh Mujibur Rahman only declared independence of Bangladesh in the late hours of March 25, 1971.