GUWAHATI, Oct 29 - Coming out strongly against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) supremo Badruddin Ajmal today said that granting citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus will pose a “direct threat to the identity of the Assamese people”.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by the Ajmal Foundation here, the Lok Sabha MP said that his party will voice concern over the issue before the Joint Parliamentary Committee which is scheduled to visit the State soon.
“Our party is committed to protecting the identity of the Assamese community. We cannot allow any threat to the identity of the Assamese people… I have no intention of causing offence to my Bengali-speaking brothers and sisters, but it is clear that if Bangladeshis are given citizenship, it will be a threat to the identity of the Assamese people. If 50 lakh Bangladeshis come, then the Assamese people will become minority in Assam,” Ajmal said.
He added, “Our stand is clear. The Assam Accord has fixed a cut-off date for people to be allowed into the country, irrespective of caste, religion and language.”
Accusing the BJP of betraying the trust of the people of Assam, Ajmal said the saffron party’s fortunes in the State will suffer on account of its stand on the issue.
He also lambasted Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. “It is unfortunate that Sonowal, who was once called as Jatiya Nayak, is now silent on the matter,” Ajmal said, adding that AIUDF wants provisions of the Assam Accord to be implemented in toto.
Regarding the forthcoming bypolls to the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha and Baithalangso Assembly seats, Ajmal accused the Congress party of virtually giving a “walk-over” to the BJP by fielding weak candidates.
He said that the AIUDF will not contest in either of the seats, but will urge people to back “secular forces”. Asked if that means that the AIUDF will support the Congress in the bypolls, he said his party’s central committee will meet soon to take a final decision.
Terming the BJP regime in State a failure, Ajmal said the Sonowal government has failed to curb price rise or solve any other burning issue, and is instead trying to divert the attention of people by making false claims on issues like the eviction in Kaziranga.