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NRC exercise will go waste if Citizenship Bill passed: Gogoi

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Oct 16 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that the entire NRC update exercise will go waste if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is passed.

Addressing the media here, Gogoi said that the NRC is being updated under the supervision of the Supreme Court and with March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date in line with the Assam Accord.

However, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide citizenship to religious minorities from the neighbouring countries and it puts December 2014 as the cut-off date for that process, Gogoi said, adding that the provisions of the Bill go against the spirit of the Assam Accord.

�If the Bill is passed, the entire exercise of updating the NRC in Assam will be wasted,� he said.

The former Chief Minister said that passage of the Bill would result in the issue of illegal immigrants remaining unresolved.

Gogoi also accused the government of focusing more on getting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed rather than on the ongoing NRC update process.

He said the BJP is trying to play the religion card for the sake of extracting political gains.

Regarding the plan of some Bengali organisations to hold a meet here in order create a common platform to push for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Gogoi said that nobody should act in a manner that may lead to mistrust or conflict among communities.

�In a democracy, everybody has a right to voice opinions and hold meetings. But, any action that can lead to conflict should be avoided. The government can persuade and convince these organisations not to hold such meetings,� he said.

Gogoi also pitched for gradual withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from the State.

�There is a need to re-look at the AFSPA. I feel it should be gradually withdrawn from the State ... The withdrawal should be gradual and not abrupt. Some pockets could still be kept under the purview of the Act,� the former Chief Minister added.

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NRC exercise will go waste if Citizenship Bill passed: Gogoi

GUWAHATI, Oct 16 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that the entire NRC update exercise will go waste if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is passed.

Addressing the media here, Gogoi said that the NRC is being updated under the supervision of the Supreme Court and with March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date in line with the Assam Accord.

However, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide citizenship to religious minorities from the neighbouring countries and it puts December 2014 as the cut-off date for that process, Gogoi said, adding that the provisions of the Bill go against the spirit of the Assam Accord.

�If the Bill is passed, the entire exercise of updating the NRC in Assam will be wasted,� he said.

The former Chief Minister said that passage of the Bill would result in the issue of illegal immigrants remaining unresolved.

Gogoi also accused the government of focusing more on getting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed rather than on the ongoing NRC update process.

He said the BJP is trying to play the religion card for the sake of extracting political gains.

Regarding the plan of some Bengali organisations to hold a meet here in order create a common platform to push for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Gogoi said that nobody should act in a manner that may lead to mistrust or conflict among communities.

�In a democracy, everybody has a right to voice opinions and hold meetings. But, any action that can lead to conflict should be avoided. The government can persuade and convince these organisations not to hold such meetings,� he said.

Gogoi also pitched for gradual withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from the State.

�There is a need to re-look at the AFSPA. I feel it should be gradually withdrawn from the State ... The withdrawal should be gradual and not abrupt. Some pockets could still be kept under the purview of the Act,� the former Chief Minister added.

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