GUWAHATI, May 15: In a significant development, the leaders of Congress party from Barak Valley districts have decided to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 for the greater interest of the people of the state. The decision was taken in a meeting of the party with leaders of Congress from Barak Valley in the presence of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Dr CP Joshi at AICC office in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“We have no differences of opinion. We all are united now on the question of Citizenship Bill,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president and Rajya Sabha elder Ripun Bora said hours after the meeting.
“We had a very long and fruitful discussion at AICC office with Dr CP Joshi, general secretary, AICC,” Bora said in a statement release to the media.
The meeting agreed that there would be no division between Brahmaputra and Barak Valley Congress on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. The meeting resolved that all the leaders of the party are united on the stand of APCC that Congress party is committed to fight for the protection of all community irrespective of caste, creed and religion, on the basis of historic Assam Accord.
The meeting resolved that the party will unitely oppose the bill tooth and nail as it is unconstitutional. The Congress will take all steps so that no names of any Indian citizens are left out from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
It may be mentioned here that the Congress was divided over the bill with its leaders from Brahmaputra Valley opposing it and those from Barak Valley supporting it. So apparent is the division that APCC president Ripun Bora, who opposes the bill, has sought the intervention of the party high command.
Bora, CLP leader Debabrata Saikia and Kaliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi have been represented from the Brahmaputra Valley in the meeting while Karimganj North MLA Kamalakya Dey Purkayastha, Silchar MP Sushmita Dev represented the Barak Valley.
The APCC has already collected signatures against the bill for the third consecutive day. “The party has divided the state into eight zones to hold protests against the bill. The protest will continue till May 24. During the protest, party members will organise processions and send memoranda to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the bill through senior district officials,” a source said.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) continued its signature campaign against the bill for the third day by mobilising people in the busy Fancy Bazar area.
AASU activists attacked in Hailakandi
Unidentified miscreants allegedly attacked AASU protestors during a rally organised by the student body against the BJP-led government’s move to implement the Citizenship Bill at Hailakandi on Monday.
As per reports, when the rally reached Kalibari area in Hailakandi town, some unidentified miscreants started pelting stones at the protestors in which one of the AASU activists was seriously injured.
The seriously injured AASU activist was immediately admitted to the hospital. Though other AASU activists tried to find out the miscreants, they managed to flee from the scene.
AASU president Dipankar Nath, while condemning the attack on AASU members, said, “Such type of attacks cannot prevent us from protesting against the Central government’s move to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. We will continue our protest until the government withdraws the Bill.”
100-hour economic blockade in Dibrugarh
Dibrugarh district unit of Jatiyo Jangosthiyo Aikyo Manch, an umbrella organisation of several groups on Tuesday launched a hundred-hour economic blockade started at 5 am here against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The agitating members of the Manch on Tuesday burnt tyres and blocked the Lahowal-Dibrugarh road for hours disrupting traffic. The economic blockade will affect everyday plying of Oil India tankers and Coal India trucks. Several trucks were stopped on the Dibrugarh-Lahowal Road by the members of the Manch.
“Earlier, we blocked trains in Chabua drawing the Centre’s attention but they didn’t give any attention to our demand to scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. So, we have decided to launch an economic blockade in Dibrugarh because most of the coal-laden trucks and oil tankers ply from Dibrugarh,” said Deep Dowerah, a member of the Manch.
He added, “We are against this Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 because it will jeopardise the future of the indigenous people.”