AASU, KMSS calls for protest against citizenship bill, says will start legal battle
Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the controversial citizenship bill 2016 will soon be passed in Parliament, two prominent organisations in Assam reacted strongly and urged the people of the state to defeat the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) bringing in the bill is "undemocratic and unconstitutional". Reiterating that the Assam Accord of 1985 is implemented in toto, both the AASU and the KMSS said they will launch an agitation against the proposed move.
The AASU said it will start a legal battle as well if the bill is passed by Parliament. "The BJP has cheated and betrayed the people of Assam. This bill will harm the secular fabric of the Constitution," AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi told PTI. The prime minister's speech proved that the BJP does not give any importance and respect to the people living in a federal structure or their voice, he added.
The AASU has been protesting against the bill and saying it cannot be accepted. "Still, the BJP is moving ahead autocratically and undemocratically. "My request at this time is that people of Assam should teach a lesson to the BJP," Gogoi said. The state has a BJP-led government since 2016. The party and its allies are targeting to win 11 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats this time.
Continuing his attack on the saffron party, the student union leader said in 2014 when the Modi government came to power, the BJP had promised to send back all illegal Bangladeshis. "But now they are being welcomed only for votes."
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
On December 31 last year, all amendments to the bill moved by the opposition in the Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal were defeated. On the other hand under the Assam Accord, 1985, foreigners who came to the state on or after March 25, 1971, should be deported.
KMSS adviser Akhil Gogoi said Modi has announced that an "unconstitutional and undemocratic bill" will be brought. "Our Constitution does not permit giving citizenship on the basis of religion. It is a challenge to our democracy and will violate the Constitution," he said. "In today's meeting, Modi clearly said that he will fight 2019 parliamentary elections not for India but for the foreigners. "So, the need of the hour is to defeat the BJP or else, there will be fascism," Akhil Gogoi said.
If the citizenship bill is passed, 20 lakh Bangladeshis who entered Assam after 1971 will get citizenship instantly and it will pave the way for 1.9 crores living in that country to come to India, he claimed. The KMSS leader said that at a time when people are already protesting against the bill, the prime minister announced that it would be passed in Parliament soon to "practically finish the Assamese community". "We appeal the people of Assam to come out and protest," he said all the 70 ally organisations of KMSS will launch an agitation, which will be announced soon.
(With inputs from agencies.)