Many senior Congress leaders not only defied the party line but also made provocative statements in support of the bill.
Guwahati: Bogged down by internal conflict over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Opposition Congress has sought a referendum on the controversial bill in Assam to solicit the view of the indigenous people of the state.
As many senior Congr-ess leaders not only defied the party line but also made provocative statements in support of the bill, former CM Tarun Gogoi said, “We want a referendum on the issue to make things clear.”
Meanwhile, Assam police on Thursday interrogated senior Congress leader and former minister Ardhendu Dey at Hojai on charges of his alleged attempt to incite communal tension while advocating citizenship for Hindu Bengali who came from Bangladesh because of religious persecution.
Mr Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, Congress MLA from southern Assam’s Karimganj district, said that citizenship should not be denied to anyone figuring in the 2014 electoral rolls even if his or her nationality is in doubt. Former Congress minister Gautam Roy, supporting the Bill, took the middle path. “The migrants should be distributed across India and Assam should not be made to bear their burden,” he said.
The stand of the Congr-ess against the bill has created a further embarrassment for the party as Mr Gogoi as chief minister until 2016 advocated asylum to Hindus and other minorities facing religious persecution in Bangladesh. A Cabinet resolution was taken in 2011 for giving refugee status to such minorities.
A year later in 2012, Mr Gogoi also submitted a memorandum to then PM Manmohan Singh stating that people who flee Bangladesh due to discrimination and religious persecution should not be treated as foreigners.
However, Assam Congress has rejected the earlier stand of the party and asserted that they are opposed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.