Make stand clear on Citizenship Bill: AASU tells Sonowal

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10,000 hit Guwahati streets demanding scrapping of controversial Bill

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Nov 8: Over 10,000 activists of All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 27 other indigenous student organisations on Thursday warned Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to clarify his stand on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.

The student body staged a mass protest at Ganeshguri here before taking out a procession to Janata Bhawan demanding scrapping the Bill from the Parliament.

“We will not spare anybody and this is a strong warning,” AASU chief advisor Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya told reporters on the sidelines of the rally.

The protesters shouted slogans holding placards against the Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“Today we are holding a warning demonstration. We urge the chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal-led Assam government to say an emphatic ‘no’ to the Bill. If the government goes ahead with it, none sitting in Dispur will be spared,” Dr Bhattacharyya said.

“Chief minister Sonowal, who has been silent on the issue, now has to give us a clear stand as he had earlier said that the security of the indigenous people would not be compromised with,” Dr Bhattacharya said.

He said that such a legislation would not be allowed to be implemented in the state under any circumstances. “It is a threat to indigenous people of the state, their language, culture and identity,” he said.

“Before elections they (BJP) had committed to the people of Assam that they will protect the interest of the indigenous people. After coming into power, they are trying to protect interest of the illegal Bangladeshis. We can’t accept it. This is a warning protest, this is a warning to the government. You can’t run the government to protect the interest of the illegal Bangladeshis,” Dr Bhattacharya also said.

“Assam is not a dumping ground for illegal Bangladeshis.” Dr Bhattacharya added.

The protesters also opposed the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015; the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015 and the proposed long-term visas to people from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and said that they would continue their protest against the government till they scrap the orders.

The AASU president Dipankar Kumar Nath said their democratic movement and crusade against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016; the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015; the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015 and the proposed long-term visas to people from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan would continue.

“The Centre is out to insult the Assam Accord by amending the Citizenship Act. We are not going to let that happen. We’ll continue our protest till the Centre cancels the Citizenship Bill, 2016. We appeal to all linguistic and ethnic groups of the state to oppose the Bill unitedly,” Nath said.

 

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