Even as the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeking to grant citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Jains and Buddhists from Bangladesh and Pakistan is currently with the Joint Select Committee, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Saturday reiterated its opposition to the Bill and instead asked the BJP what had happened to its promise of granting Constitutional safeguards to the indigenous communities of Assam.
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“This (BJP-led) government had come to power with the promise of granting Constitutional safeguards to the indigenous communities of Assam who have been facing a serious threat from Bangladeshi infiltrators. But now it is more bent on encouraging more Bangladeshis. What happened to the promise of Constitutional safeguards?” Samujjal Bhattacharya, chief advisor of the AASU asked. He was speaking at a rally before a satyagraha organised by the student body in Bongaigaon to press for its demand of Constitutional safeguards.
“The Supreme Court has more than once reminded the government that Bangladeshi influx was like an external invasion. The BJP capitalised on this and made a very important promise to the people during the campaign for the state assembly election earlier this year. But now, it is trying to get more Bangladeshis by amending the Citizenship Act. This is not done,” Bhattacharya said.
He also cited the recent statistics about Bangladeshi infiltrators tabled by the government in Parliament and said that had only vindicated the AASU’s stand. “But instead of taking steps to detect and expel them, there is an attempt to encourage more infiltration. We will not let this happen. Bangladeshis have to be expelled irrespective of their religion or linguistic affiliation. The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Assam Accord of 1985 are all clear on not distinguishing one infiltrator from another in the name of religion or language,” he said.
The AASU chief advisor also accused all parties – including the BJP, Congress, regional and Left parties – for doing nothing to expel the Bangladeshi infiltrators. “All parties were in power at one point of time or the other. But what have they done to detect and expel the infiltrators? Delhi’s eyes are only on Assam’s resources and not on the problems,” Bhattacharya said.