GUWAHATI, April 13 - Opposing any move to offer citizenship to foreign nationals coming to Assam after 1971, the Assam Nagarik Samaj has appealed to the people to unite against this threat to the identity of Assam and the Assamese people.In an appeal signed by a number of eminent citizens, the organisation said the State government should facilitate a visit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to the state at the earliest so that all sections of the people can air their views freely and frankly before the Joint Parliamentary Committee.
“Following the Assam Accord, it was agreed by all that the foreign national issue should be resolved considering 1971 as the cutoff year. But after the coming of the BJP government at the Centre in 2014, it introduced a bill in 2016 in Parliament to amend the 1955 Citizenship Act in order to offer citizenship to Hindu foreigners who had come from Bangladesh even after 1971. When this was assailed by the Opposition, a JPC was formed to hear public opinion on the matter, which was vehemently opposed in Assam. This move is sure to pose a threat to the identity of the indigenous people of Assam,” the organisation said.
Reacting to media reports on a recent comment by the JPC chairman, the Nagarik Samaj said the media reports on the JPC chairman’s comment about the possibility of granting citizenship to Hindu foreigners was shocking news for the people of Assam.
“He reportedly said that as the country was partitioned on the basis of religion, there should not be a problem in granting citizenship on the basis of religion. This comment indicates a partisan view of the JPC chairman,” the organisation said.
Questioning the Union government’s intent, the Nagarik Samaj members said that if the government had made up its mind, there was no need of a public hearing at all.
The appeal signed by noted personalities – including Nilmoni Phukan, Nirupama Borgohain, Lakshmi Nandan Bora, Harekrishna Deka, Kulendu Pathak, Gajen Talukdar, Anima Guha, Tultul Barua, Sudakshina Sarma, Dilip Hazarika, Kulada Kumar Bhattacharya, Lakshmi Goswami, Benu Misra and Nipon Goswami among others – also said that by ensuring the Joint Parliamentary Committee’s visit to Assam, the government should extend all possible help in this issue.
Other noted signatories included Pulak Gogoi, Chandra Mohan Sarma, Kanaksen Deka, Arup Kumar Dutta, Bimal Phukan, Indibar Deuri, Pradip Barua, Anuradha Dutta, Dulal Chandra Goswami, Haidar Hussain, Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, Nitya Bora, Munin Bayan, Prasanta Rajguru, Utpal Barua, Dilip Chandan, Nitumoni Saikia, Udayan Misra, Arupa Patangia Kalita and Partha Pratim Hazarika.