GUWAHATI, Oct 23 - In an attempt to quell the growing resentments in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the State Government has urged the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill to hold its special sitting in Assam, instead of New Delhi.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has written to the Committee in this regard and asked it not to overlook the apprehensions of people and the sensitive nature of the issue, especially in the context of Assam. The Chief Minister is also expected to take up the matter with the Centre any time soon.
Sources at Dispur told this reporter that the Chief Minister has also directed Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia to take up the matter with the Committee on October 26, the date on which he (Chief Secretary) and Director General of Assam Police Mukesh Sahay are scheduled to depose before the Committee in New Delhi.
Sonowal, in his letter to the Committee, cited the growing apprehension among the common public in Assam vis-�-vis the Bill, which has already attracted sharp reactions from various quarters.
The Bill is aimed at amending the Citizenship Act 1955 to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, migrating from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan owing to religious persecution in those countries, eligible for Indian citizenship.
However, the Assam Accord, which fixes the cut-off date for detection and deportation of illegal migrants on March 25, 1971, did not make religion a ground for the exercise, mandating that all illegal migrants irrespective of their religious affiliation must be deported.
Sonowal has urged the Committee to bear in mind the multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and composite structure of the Assamese society. �As the implications of the Bill will be felt more in Assam than in any other State in India, the State Government wants the Committee to feel the pulse of the people, which is why the Chief Minister has written to the Committee to organise the public hearing in the matter in the State itself,� sources pointed out.
�The general public should not feel apprehensive about the Bill and the vested interest circles should not be allowed to take advantage of the situation by misleading the common man and resorting to false propaganda. Any kind of misinterpretation of the Bill must be addressed at the earliest,� sources pointed out.
Sources also divulged that the Chief Secretary and the DGP, during the course of their deposition, will share a number of statistical facts and figures relating to the current population pattern and the issue of illegal immigrants with its background dating back to the days of the Assam Agitation. The Committee, it needs mention, has already started the process of inviting various stakeholders to express their views on the Bill.