GUWAHATI, Dec 10 - Today’s bandh reflects the spontaneous protest of the masses in Assam and the other northeastern states against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or the CAB, and the Centre should desist from going ahead with the proposed legislation, major Opposition parties of the State opined.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, leaders of many Opposition parties said that if the Centre ignores the wishes of the people of this region and presses ahead with the controversial Bill, then resistance against it will only intensify in the coming days.
“Today’s spontaneous protest sends a message from the people of the North East that we love India, but not at the cost of our own identity. The success of the bandh called by NESO proves that the entire North East is united against the CAB and against the BJP’s attempt to divide the society on religious lines,” Apurba Bhattacharya, general secretary of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), told this newspaper.
He added, “If the government really believes that it is the guardian of the country, then it should think twice before going ahead with the Bill in the Rajya Sabha. It should scrap the CAB and respect the sentiments of the people of the North East.”
Bhattacharya added that even if the government manages to get the CAB passed in the Rajya Sabha, the principal Opposition party will continue its agitation against the legislation.
“We are going to organise a massive protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on December 13 against the CAB and the Centre’s proposal for a fresh NRC. Our agitation will only intensify,” said the senior Congress leader.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) said it plans to approach the Supreme Court if the CAB is passed by the Rajya Sabha and assumes the form of an Act.
“The CAB violates many provisions of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, if the Centre manages to get it passed in the Upper House of Parliament, we will approach the apex court against the CAB,” said Haidor Hussain Bora, general secretary of the AIUDF.
He accused the BJP-led government of displaying arrogance and ignoring genuine concerns of the people of Assam and the North East.
“What more proof does the government need? Today’s bandh amply demonstrates that the entire North East is opposed to implementation of the CAB. The government should withdraw the Bill. However, the kind of attitude and language which the ruling party members displayed in the Lok Sabha yesterday shows that they are determined to go ahead with the CAB,” said Bora.
The Left also accused the Centre of acting against the interests of the North East.
“Once the CAB is passed by the Rajya Sabha and becomes an Act, many Hindu Bangladeshis will be eligible for Indian citizenship. We, the indigenous people of Assam, will then become minorities in our own State. We cannot accept such an outcome. People of this region will resist even more strongly in the coming day,” said Communist Party of India (CPI) State unit secretary Munin Mahanta.
The CAB was passed by the Lok Sabha after midnight yesterday following hours of discussion in the House. It will be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.