Guwahati, Jun 3: Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia today maintained that the people of Assam have not endorsed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
He further claimed that victory of the BJP in the recently concluded State polls does not indicate that the people of the State have supported the CAA. The result of the recent Assembly elections could not be interpreted as endorsement of CAA by the people of Assam, because the BJP secured only 33.21% of the votes and the majority of voters spurned the BJP and CAA, the Congress leader said in a press statement here. He further pointed that just before the Assembly elections, the Government of Assam, citing a letter from the Central Government, had instructed Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, Foreigners Registration Officers, etc., vide a memo dated March 19, 2021, to disseminate information regarding grant of citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who hold Long Term Visas (LTVs).
Saikia said that since the CAA was introduced for migrants from these three specific countries, "there is reason to suspect that the latest instruction issued by the Government of Assam was nothing but a ploy to implement CAA in Assam in a roundabout way". He maintained that since any foreigner can apply for Indian citizenship under Sections 5 & 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, there is no need to invoke the CAA. He demanded that if a section of foreign migrants are to be granted citizenship on the basis of LTVs, then the Inner Line Permit system should be introduced in Assam. Saikia further demanded that the long-pending claims and objections process of the NRC be completed urgently.
Since only the names of genuine citizens of the pre-1971 period would be left after a fair claims and objections process, the Government should issue National Identity Cards to these citizens in accordance with provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, he added.