NEW DELHI, Oct 25 - The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is likely to visit Assam to assess the ground reality, even as the organisations connected with the Assam agitation strongly opposed the move to tinker with the Assam Accord and the cutoff date insisting on detection and deportation of illegal migrants irrespective of their religion.
At least, 12 organisations on Tuesday made submissions before the JPC and these included the All Assam Students� Union (AASU), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Assam Andolan Sangrami Mancha, Barak Valley Bangla Sahitya Sanmilan and Joint Action Bengali Committee, besides a few others from Tripura and West Bengal.
The JPC today conveyed that they are planning to tour Assam soon. Significantly, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday morning met JPC chairman Satyapal Singh and invited him to visit Assam.
However, the fault-line between alliance partners � BJP and AGP � in Assam seems to have become clear, with the regional party blaming the saffron party for the mess over the Bill.
Briefing newsmen, AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya and president and general secretary of the student body, Deepankar Nath and Lurin Jyoti Gogoi, respectively, said that they gave a brief account of the Assam agitation, sacrifice of 855 people, who were killed during the movement. The Assam agitation is closely linked with this Bill and nowhere in the country has any agitation taken place over the influx of foreigners from a neighbouring country, Bhattacharya said.
The six-year agitation culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord, which is nothing but a national commitment of the Government of India. According to terms of the Accord all those foreigners who entered Assam before 1971 will be given shelter in Assam irrespective of their religion.
�We have explained to the JPC that a small state like Assam cannot take additional burden of Bangladeshis who have entered the State after the cutoff date,� said Bhattacharya. �We have also brought to the notice of the JPC about the various orders of the court, including the Supreme Court verdict on the IM(DT) Act and its remarks regarding the illegal migrants,� he added.
The Supreme Court had said that an external aggression is taking place in Assam from Bangladesh. The Gauhati High Court in its judgement had said that illegal migrants in Assam have become kingmakers.
�If the influx continues, the indigenous people of Assam would become a minority. The statistics submitted by the Central Government in the Parliament regarding the illegal migrants and the report of the then Assam Governor Lt Gen (retd) SN Sinha on illegal migration were also brought to the notice of the Parliamentary Committee,� he said.
�We have also mentioned that according to the Assam Accord, a cutoff date has been set for detection and deportation of illegal migrants and recently, the Supreme Court had directed the Government of India to hold dialogues with the Government of Bangladesh to streamline the process of deportation of Bangladeshis,� he added.
The Assam Accord has also mentioned about the Constitutional safeguard of the indigenous people. �This Bill has become a threat to the safety and identity of the indigenous people in Assam and we have submitted documents in support of our claim,� Bhattacharya said.
Talking to newsmen, AGP leader Kumar Deepak Das said that they have opposed the Bill and made a submission in support of their claim. �The JPC gave us a patient hearing and seem convinced with our argument,� Das, who is a former Rajya Sabha MP and a close associate of former AGP Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, said.
When asked, Das said that �during the alliance meet with the BJP, we had made it clear that not a single clause of the Assam Accord would be touched and that the Accord would be implemented in toto. Moreover, we wanted that the problems faced by the indigenous people would have to be addressed and the BJP had agreed to it.�