Congress to move SC against Citizenship Bill: Gogoi

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Dec 2: As BJP-led NDA government is all set to introduce Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha by December 10, former Assam chief minister and veteran Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on Monday said that the Congress party would move the Supreme Court against the Bill.

“This is an unconstitutional bill. It will affect very essence of secularism, unity and integrity. It will divide Hindus and Muslims and violate the provisions of the Constitution,” Gogoi said addressing a press conference here.

Gogoi slammed the NDA government for “ignoring people’s sentiments and agitations” saying “to ignore the wishes of the people is not a democracy”. He also urged the government to drop the Bill immediately in the greater interest of the people of Assam.

“If the government is adamant, ignoring people’s sentiments and agitations, then they [ruling ones]are dictators, not democrats. Democracy means it should listen to the voices of the people; it should not impose their will or try to convince people. Yes, you form the majority in Parliament, you can get it passed [Citizenship (Amendment) Bill]. But to ignore the wishes of the people is not a democracy,” Gogoi said.

“The CAB will definitely affect the culture, heritage of the people of Assam. With this bill, it (BJP) is encouraging people from Bangladesh to enter and settle down. Assam is a problematic state with many problems,” Gogoi said.

Gogoi further said that there is not enough land to settle more people in Assam. The state has already taken “extra burden” by signing the Assam Accord which renders a person foreigner if he/she came to the state after March 24, 1971, he said.

“Besides, there is no land, no jobs. Therefore, in such a situation, it [Citizenship (Amendment) Bill] not only affect the state culturally but also economically,” Gogoi said.

“The government should realise the matter. It must understand sentiments of the people of Assam and think twice or many times before take a final decision,” he said.

“According to me, in order to maintain peace and tranquility and economic development in Assam, it [government]should drop the Bill immediately,” the former chief minister said.

Taking a dig at Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Gogoi said, “The state government is scared to talk about the actual sentiment of the people to [home minister]Amit Shah or Narendra Modi. But the chief ministers of our neighbouring states — Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh — have guts to convey the feelings of their people.”

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