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  India   All India  23 Oct 2018  Fearing unrest, Assam says no to pro-citizenship bill rally

Fearing unrest, Assam says no to pro-citizenship bill rally

THE ASIAN AGE. | MANOJ ANAND
Published : Oct 23, 2018, 1:24 am IST
Updated : Oct 23, 2018, 2:00 am IST

42 outfits of indigenous communities have called bandh today.

Sarbananda Sonowal
 Sarbananda Sonowal

Guwahati: The Assam government on Monday announced that it would not give permission for a proposed rally of 27 Bengali organisations in support of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, in Guwahati on November 17.

The Assam government’s decision comes a day after a conglomerate of 42 organisations of indigenous communities called for a 12-hour bandh on Tuesday, which coincided with the scheduled meeting of the joint parliamentary committee with officials of home and external affairs ministries on the controversial bill.

The conglomerate of 42 organisations also asked the state government to clarify their stand on the rally besides warning that they would launch agitation if some groups are allowed to hold any meeting in support of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to provide citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian extraction. However, the act doesn’t have a provision for Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas, who also face persecution in Pakistan.

The bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.

Referring the incident of March 2017 at Silapathar, where one such rally of Bengali organisations turned violent, Mr Sarma also asked the indigenous organisations to refrain from calling a bandh, which is against the order of the Guwahati high court. He regretted that Congress party has extended its support to the bandh.

Meanwhile, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) accused the joint parliamentary committee on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of acting according to BJP’s demands.

Stating that it has left the people of Assam with no choice but to launch a stir, the KMSS adviser, Akhil Gogoi, said: “The JPC is not a BJP committee, though an MP from BJP heads the panel. The committee went ahead with its plan in haste and there was no time for anyone to oppose the proceedings. That is why more than 40 organisations have called a 12-hour bandh in Assam on Tuesday.”

Tags: assam government, sarbananda sonowal, citizenship amendment bill