GUWAHATI, Sept 14 - Terming the BJP’s recent statement regarding protection of interests of minorities from neighbouring countries as unfortunate, NDA ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has said that the regional party remains committed to opposing any attempt to provide shelter or protection to illegal immigrants or non-Muslims from across the border.
In a statement, AGP general secretary Dr Kamala Kalita said that at a time when the regional party and the greater Assamese society are fighting to defeat the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, any attempt to convert foreigners into citizens would not be accepted.
He termed the recent statement of BJP president Amit Shah regarding minorities of neighbouring countries as unfortunate and said it goes against the interests of the people of Assam. The AGP has also opposed the private member’s Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha by a BJP MP from Rajasthan, which allegedly seeks to provide protection to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.
It is noteworthy that the private member’s Bill – the Illegal Immigrants (Identification and Deportation) Bill, 2018 – tabled in the Upper House by Narayan Lal Panchariya of BJP, has been criticised by some opposition leaders as a ploy to enact the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in another guise.
Dr Kalita said that any step to provide citizenship to illegal immigrants would make the entire NRC update process redundant and added that the AGP would not compromise on the issue of interests of the people of Assam.
He said that the issue of illegal immigrants would have to be resolved on the basis of the Assam Accord and no migrant, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, who entered illegally after March 25, 1971, can be allowed to stay in the State.
It is noteworthy that the political resolution adopted by the BJP during its National Executive meeting held in New Delhi on September 8-9 had said, “We shall also take steps to protect the interests of the minorities in our neighbourhood who come to India seeking refuge.”