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NE students protest against Citizenship Act

 NEW DELHI, Dec 15 - Students from north-eastern states protested against the amended Citizenship Act at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday, terming it “anti-Constitution” and a threat to identities of indigenous people in the region.

 The protesters demanded scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, claiming it was against the spirit of Assam Accord of 1985.

“We have gathered here to protest against the CAA because it threatens indigenous identities in the region. We demand the Centre scrap it and also lift restrictions like internet ban and stop police brutality,” said a Delhi University student hailing from Assam.

The Act, recently passed by Parliament, provides for Indian citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and faced religious persecution there.

The north-eastern states have been facing the issue of illegal immigration for decades which is going to be revived by the Citizenship Amendment Act, said Rituparna Kaushik, a Delhi IIT student from Assam’s Jorhat.

“We accepted illegal immigrants till 1971. Now, we do not want anymore as Assam is a poor state with limited resources. The Act threatens identities of Assamese people and poses fear of them being turned into a minority,” he said.

The Act is against the Constitution and also a threat to the unique composite culture of the region, said Rukhsaar, a Delhi-based professional from Guwahati.

“For the BJP and its government, they are vote bank but for us they are foreigners whom the Act is going to extend citizenship. It is against the secular culture of Assam where native Muslims fought Mughals in medieval times and where surnames are shared by Hindus and Muslims now,” she said in reference to the Act making religion as the basis for citizenship. – PTI

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