GUWAHATI, April 22 - Expressing concern at the creation of sentiments with �unhealthy debates� and aggressive attacks on the organisations which reportedly supported the Centre�s initiative to amend the citizenship laws at the Joint Parliamentary Committee hearing in New Delhi recently, the Patriotic People�s Front Assam (PPFA) has called for rational debates on the pertinent issue.
The PPFA, in a statement issued to the media, said that a section of Assamese intellectuals and civil society groups have tried their best to project the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 in a biased perception as if the whole initiative is Assam-centric.
The PPFA statement alleged that the biased individuals have raised the hue and cry that once the Bill turns into a law, millions of Bengali Hindu people from Bangladesh would be dumped in Assam and the practice would continue for decades, so whoever supports the initiative should be termed jatidrohi (anti-Assamese).
They cleverly avoided the fact that the asylum seekers are not merely Bengali Hindus, but also a mix of Rajbongshi, Hajong, Jaintia, Bishnupriya, Chakma, Garo, Khasi, Adivasi, etc., people, the PPFA pointed out.
The statement also clarified that the initiative is meant to allow citizenship for those refugees belonging to the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities, who were persecuted because of their religions in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and had already taken shelter in India prior to December 31, 2014, and there is no provision to bring more Bangladeshi (or Pakistani and Afghan) nationals after the said date.
Extending support to the Centre�s initiative for the Bill, the PPFA, however, demanded that the asylum seekers from the neighbouring countries must be distributed judiciously across the country. Moreover, those who prefer to stay legally in Assam, should adopt the Assamese language as their medium of instruction.
Adopting the Assamese language as the medium of official language by those settlers would help in promoting the Assamese culture and also contribute for a stronger and safer India. Their goodwill would also remove the linguistic threat perception haunting the indigenous populace of Assam, the PPFA argued.
The PPFA also reiterated its stand for detection of all illegal immigrants from the erstwhile East Pakistan (and later Bangladesh) with the cut-off year of 1951 as it is applicable to the entire nation. It argued that the spirit of Assam Movement (1979 to 1985) was to deport all foreigners since 1951, for which over 850 martyrs � Khargeswar Talukdar being the first � sacrificed their lives.
The PPFA also pointed out that if deportation of the illegitimate immigrants becomes impossible (or very difficult) because of serious humanitarian and international crisis, the Union government should think about offering work permits (without voting rights) to them to resolve the issue amicably.