Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi on Tuesday has slammed the BJP's arrogance and dictatorial mindset for the disturbed peace and harmony of the states in the North East. Massive protests broke out in Assam over the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. A bandh has been called for by the students union opposing the bill.
"There are spontaneous protests erupting in Assam and across North-East and this is exactly what I told the Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday that they might have the numbers to pass it (bill) in the house but when you are trampling upon people's sentiments like this you are only alienating the people of North-East, peace and harmony there is being disturbed by the arrogance and the dictatorial mindset of this government," Gogoi told ANI on Tuesday.
Gogoi further asserted that protests are being led by students, college professors, government officers, farmers, and even by ordinary workers. "Today, people have lost their faith in BJP as it has betrayed everyone. BJP just wants to play their politics in the name of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. They have nothing to do with peace and development," he added.
Massive protests broke out in Assam against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) on Tuesday. During the protest, several students in Guwahati raised slogans against the Bill and burnt tyres in the area. Several policemen were deployed in the area to control the situation.
While BJP has claimed that the Bill will grant citizenship to 'persecuted minorities' coming from 'Muslim majority' countries, the Opposition has claimed that the move was aimed at promoting BJP's 'pro-Hindutva' stance. Most opposition parties like the Congress, CPI (M), most north-eastern parties, AIMIM, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party have openly revolted against the bill, with Sena demanding that the refugees who enter through the Citizenship Bill must not be given voting rights for 25 years to curb vote-bank politics. There are ongoing protests outside the parliament, Jantar Mantar and several parts of Assam - Guwahati, Dibrugarh, and Agartala.
First introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016, the bill was finally passed by the Lok Sabha in January 2019, but expired in the Rajya Sabha. Protests, which first sprung in 2016, have already reportedly sprung around Assam this week led by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), which has stated that the will not be accepted by people. Massive faceoff is expected over the Bill in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP does not hold an absolute majority.
The Bill amends the Citizenship Act 1955 to make refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship, as explained by PRS. It also relaxes the terms of naturalised citizenship, from the original 14 years to six years. Anyone belonging to the above-mentioned six religions and three countries can apply for citizenship after residing in India for the stipulated six years.
The Bill allows cancellation of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders' citizenship if they violate any law, including minor offences like parking violations. Many lawmakers have argued that since the Bill allows refugees i.e. illegal migrants to apply for citizenship based on religion, it may violate Article 14 which guarantees the right to equality.
In the new draft of the Bill, Shah who met with the several Chief Ministers and politicians from the northeastern state politicians from November 29, has offered to exempt the inner line permit areas in Nagaland, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling under the Sixth Schedule in the region from the Bill.
(With inputs from ANI)