GUWAHATI, June 3 - The chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill , 2016, Rajendra Agarwal today assured that due consideration to the views of all the stakeholders would be given before the committee finalizes its report on the Bill. He also admitted that it would be difficult for the JPC to submit its report during the coming monsoon session of the Parliament.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Agarwal admitted that the JPC is facing an uphill task as so many organizations and individuals in Assam submitted their views on the issue. He assured that the JPC would take an impartial view after giving due consideration to all the stakeholders. He pointed out that during the visit to Assam, the JPC received a large number of representation and memorandum from different organizations and the Committee would go through all those seriously. �The people of Assam including different organizations came out in large numbers to give their opinion and we will have to give due consideration to all those before finalizing our report. In the Brahmaputra valley, most organizations and individuals, who submitted representations, opposed the Bill, while, in the Barak valley, most organizations supported the Bill. That is why we are facing divergent views on the issue,� he added.
The JPC chairman said that before visiting Assam, the Committee had called different organizations to Delhi to get their views on the Bill. �Now we have to thoroughly study thousands of documents but we hope that a consensus solution emerge.�
Replying to a question on whether the JPC members would visit Assam again, Agarwal said that there is every possibility of them visiting the State again. He admitted that there have been demands that the JPC should visit other areas of the State, particularly northern Assam. �We would like to visit again if required to ensure that the opinion of all concerned is taken into consideration before the JPC finalizes its report. But at this moment, I cannot tell you the dates on which we are likely to visit the State again,� he added.
Agarwal said that the JPC would like to seek opinion of �experts� on the issue. He said that the JPC would also like to go through the draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). He pointed out that the publication of at least the draft of the NRC would throw some light on the situation vis a vis the issue of illegal migration. However, even after the publication of the draft, time would be given for filing claims and objections, he added.
The JPC chief pointed out that the Committee would have to visit the other states having international border with Bangladesh, particularly Tripura and West Bengal, while, it would have to visit states having border with Pakistan and the states where people coming from Afghanistan are residing. The JPC is trying to ensure that the view of no stakeholder is left out before submitting the report.
Replying to a question on whether the JPC would submit its report during the coming Monsoon session of Parliament, Agarwal said that it is very unlikely. He said that as the JPC would have to take the views of all the stakeholders into consideration and go through huge volume of documents, it is very unlikely that the report would be prepared within such a short time.