Leader of the Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, has come down heavily on Rajasthan BJP MP and the party’s chief whip in Rajya Sabha, Narayan Lal Panchariya, for tabling a Private Member’s Bill called The Illegal Immigrants (Identification and Deportation) Bill, 2018 in the recently-concluded session of the Upper House.

Saikia said that the bill is a ploy to enact the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in another guise. He said that Panchariya has moved the bill as a result of the fierce opposition evinced in Assam to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Saikia alleged that since the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is being roundly decried as an implement to protect a section of illegal migrants on the basis of their religion, Panchariya is now trying to sugar-coat the BJP’s divisive agenda with provisions like creation of national and state commissions to control the process of identifying and deporting illegal migrants and confiscation of their property.

Saikia further pointed out that the ‘nefarious motive’ behind the bill tabled by Panchariya is exposed by Section 10, which states, “The central government may, if it considers so in national interest, exempt any illegal immigrants or any class of illegal immigrants from deportation or any other provisions of this Act.”

“The attempt to vest the central government with this sort of discretionary power in matters of citizenship, especially at a time when Assam stands ravaged by the problem of illegal migrants, is against the letter and spirit of the constitution,” Saikia noted.

The ACLP leader added that Section 14 of the bill is similarly loaded with anti-Assam intent, as can be gauged from the proposal that “the provisions of this act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force.”

“This is a poorly disguised attempt to nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord,” Saikia said adding that Panchariya should not play the devil’s advocate in matters beyond his grasp.

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