Guwahati, Jan 27: “We must have the courage to tell the Union government that we may consider not staying with India if proper respect is not shown to the Assamese people and the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed,” Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) adviser Akhil Gogoi said on Sunday.
Gogoi, who has been spearheading the agitation by 70 organisations, including Asom Jatiyabadi Yuva Parishad (AJYCP) and All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) against the Bill, said, “We want to make it clear that if the need and situation arises, Assam must be able to say that they are prepared not to stay with India …if the government respects us, we will stay with India or we will quit.”
“If the government gives us the respect we deserve, we are with the nation but if the sentiments of the indigenous Assamese are ignored and the bill is passed, then each Assamese must have the courage to say that they will not be a part of India,” Gogoi said addressing a protest rally against the Citizenship Bill at Panitola in Assam’s Tinsukia district.
Notably, the police had earlier filed a sedition case against Gogoi, Sahitya Akademi winning litterateur Hiren Gohain and senior journalist Manjit Mahanta for making secessionist remarks at a protest meeting in Guwahati.
Various political and non-political parties, including All Assam Students Union (AASU) have opposed the Bill and claimed that it will have an adverse impact on the demography of the sensitive border state.
The Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 11, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Various social organisations of the state have opposed the Bill and said the provisions of the Bill will nullify the clause 6 of 1985 Assam Accord, which provides for deportation of all illegal migrants, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after March 1971.
The Bill also triggered protest in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. Several organisations in Mizoram had boycotted the Republic Day celebrations in protest against the Citizenship Bill.