With the Union Cabinet approving Citizenship Amendment Bill to be tabled in the ongoing session of the parliament, opposition Congress, AIUDF, as well as several student organizations who have been protesting against the bill have termed it unfortunate.
Speaking to Republic Media Network, two former chief ministers of Assam condemned the move of the Union Cabinet and called it unfortunate. Veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, "It is a great blow for the people of Assam. The Union government wants to impose the bill against the will of the people of Assam."
The former chief minister further added that they (BJP) want to change the social fabric of Assam by bringing Bangladeshi Hindus. Demanding a referendum over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, he said that the panchayat elections and the parliamentary elections were fought on several issues, you cannot term the election as pro CAB mandate. He said, "If it was so, why are the student organizations protesting. Many voted for the BJP in the elections, but they are opposing CAB. Political parties might have some agenda but the student bodies don't."
Stating that the Congress party will oppose the Bill in the Parliament, Gogoi said that if the need arises they will also move to the Supreme Court.
Another former chief minister of the State and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, whose party is now in fact supporting the CAB, also termed it as unfortunate and said, "It is the responsibility of the Union Home Ministry to implement the Assam Accord, but now they are more into bringing the CAB, which violates the Assam Accord."
Thanking the organizations protesting against the CAB, Mahanta said that the movement against the Bill will continue.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia said that Assam Accord is being violated in letter and spirit. "The job was to implement the Assam Accord in letter and spirit, but now it is being violated."
On the other hand, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) today staged a demonstration at Last Gate in Guwahati, just outside the Assam Legislative Assembly. Speaking to Republic Media Network, AIUDF MLA Abdur Rahim Ajmal said that they will move the Supreme Court as the next course of action if the Bill is passed in the Parliament.
The various student organizations protesting against the Bill has termed it as a black day. Speaking to Republic Media Network, Rahul Gautam Sarma, a student leader of the prestigious Cotton University said that they are hopeful that even if the Bill is passed in the Lower House, it will face opposition in the Upper House.
The Northeast Students Organization and the All Assam Students' Union, on the other hand, staged a demonstration outside Assam House in New Delhi on Wednesday, soon after the Union Cabinet approved the Bill. Chief Adviser of NESO and AASU, Dr. Samujjal Bhattacharya said, "It's an injustice to the people of Assam because Citizenship Amendment Bill is communal, unconstitutional and violates the Assam Accord and it protects the interest of illegal Bangladeshis, so we are opposing it."
He further added, "After historic Assam movement of 1985, Assam Accord was signed and it was laid down in Parliament. All the political leaders, be it, Advani Ji, Vajpayee Ji all had welcomed the Assam Accord but now the central government is imposing CAB to give citizenship to those who have entered from 1971 to 2014 but as per Assam Accord those who have entered up to 1971 be it Hindu or Muslim will get citizenship."
Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya added, "Foreigner is a foreigner, he or she cannot be defined on the basis of religion. More than one hour we had a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah where we opposed this."