AASU, other organizations stage mass rally against the Citizenship bill

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 28 other organizations on Saturday staged demonstration in demand of withdrawal of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was tabled in the parliament in August, seeks to give citizenship to religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in India. The bill, however, was referred to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament, following the opposition said the bill needed more scrutiny.

All the leaders of the apex students’ body and the ethnic organizations have appealed to the government to withdraw the bill, otherwise, they said, it will create trouble to the state and which also violates the Assam Accord.

Assam Accord was signed in 1985 following a bloody agitation which witnessed hundreds of people being martyred to drive out illegal foreigners in the 1980s. Assam Accord says anyone who enters the country after March 25 of 1971 is an illegal foreigner irrespective of their religion, caste and creed.

“We have always been asking the central and state government to implement the Assam Accord. But instead of that, the central government is trying to provide citizenship to illegal migrants. We will not let this happen at any cost,” said AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya.

Besides AASU, a host of other organizations have also been opposing the bill. Former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has also been opposing this bill. Incidentally, Mahanta was one of the signatories of Assam Accord in 1985 as a student leader.

In spite of being an ally of the present state government in Assam, Mahanta has been vocal against the Citizenship Amendment bill.  “We will oppose anything which goes against the interest of the people of the state. The bill will hamper the state,” Mahanta had said earlier.

Image Credits: Surajit Sharma.

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