GUWAHATI, Oct 24 - The statement by former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai on the move of the Central Government to grant citizenship to foreigners on the basis of religion proved that the apprehensions expressed by the indigenous people of Assam were correct and now the Centre should rethink on the issue. This was the view expressed by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU).
Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya pointed out that Pillai�s statement proved that the opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which aims to provide citizenship to the foreigners, who came to India because of religious persecution on their own countries, was justified.
Pillai yesterday admitted that Assam is not in a position to take any more burden of foreigners and if the government is interested in keeping those who came to India because of religious persecution in their own countries, they should be settled elsewhere in the country. Referring to the statement, Bhattacharya said that Assam has already taken the burden of the foreigners, who came to Assam up to the midnight of March 24, 1971 irrespective of their religion and the State would not take any more burden of foreign nationals as it would pose a serious threat to the identity of the indigenous people of the State.
Pointing out Pillai�s observation that the Government of India does not have a mechanism to identity which of the foreigners came to India because of religious persecution in their own countries and which came for other reasons, Bhattacharya said that if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is passed and implemented as an Act, it would encourage further infiltration as the foreigners would always be able to claim that they had faced religious persecution in their own countries. He added that illegal migration from Bangladesh is still continuing and expressed the fear that the recent move of the Centre might increase the flow of illegal migrants to India.
The AASU chief adviser further said that instead of trying to give citizenship to foreigners, the Government of India should think of the future of the indigenous people and implement all the clauses of the Assam Accord with a time-bound programme and all the post-1971 migrants should be detected and deported. He also reiterated the demand for providing constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people of the State under the provisions of clause 6 of the Assam Accord to protect their identity.