Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Science | By

Meghalaya: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill faces strong opposition at JPC meet

Meghalaya: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill faces strong opposition at JPC meet

Former Congress minister Gautam Roy, supporting the Bill, took the middle path. Such fears among the indigenous people in Assam will become reality if we all do not stand strongly against the Bill.

The Bill once passed would render the Assam Accord as well as National Register of Citizens (NRC) toothless, he said.

"The chief minister needs to take the initiative in this matter because he is the leader of the House and dates for Assembly sessions and list of business are fixed as per his advice to the Governor and the Speaker, he added".

There is no reason for the people of Assam to panic as it was Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who had insisted that a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) visit the state and listen to the views of the people, senior minister and government spokesman Chandramohan Patowary said.

Bill, 2016 that the Centre has proposed seeks to make Hindus, Jains, Christians, Parsis and Buddhists of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan eligible for Indian citizenship and bring down the residency period for eligibility from 11 years to six years - a contentious move in a region haunted by the spectre of the Bangladeshi migrant for decades.

The Accord states that all illegal foreigners from Bangladesh who had settled in Assam after March 25, 1971 would have to be deported irrespective of religion.

"We will not take any decision that goes against the people of Assam, We all have to ensure peace across the state and keep faith in the government".

The JPC had heard individuals, political and other organisations on the bill in Guwahati on May 7 for 30 Brahmaputra valley districts and the next two days for the three Barak valley districts.

The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam and its first draft has been published on December 31 past year.

"We want a correct NRC, which is being updated under the directives of the Supreme Court, to protect the identity of the Assamese people", he said.

On May 8, the Meghalaya cabinet had opposed the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

In the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, a majority of the 315 opinions submitted to the JPC were in favour of the Bill, and people carrying placards formed a human chain in its support.

"Even without passing of the Bill, illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are crossing over to the region be it Assam, Tripura or any other state", he said while maintaining that the North East region can not take the burden of Bangladeshis anymore since the region took the entire load of Bangladeshis fleeing their country during their liberation war.

Without taking names, he pilloried some intellectuals with Left lineage saying those who had been critical of the anti-foreigners' agitation of early 1980s are now leading the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

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