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Assam still not safe if Bangladesh kept out of Bill purview: KMSS

Agitation to continue for protecting democracy, Constitution: Akhil


GUWAHATI: Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti advisor, Akhil Gogoi has said that even if Bangladesh is kept out of the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the indigenous people of Assam will “still not be safe”.

The joint parliamentary committee (JPC) is scheduled to meet in New Delhi for the final time before it submits its report on the Bill to the Parliament.

A proposal has been made by members of the committee to keep Bangladesh out of the purview of the Bill, which seeks to make persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan eligible for Indian citizenship.

Addressing the media here on Sunday, Gogoi said, “The proposal to keep Bangladesh out of the purview of the Bill may appear to be a positive outcome but is debatable, as until and unless the same is made for two notifications – Passport Entry into India (Amendment) Rules, 2015 and Foreigners Amendment Order, 2015 – Assam will always face a threat from migrants entering the state and attaining citizenship.”

Pointing out the three principle reasons as to why KMSS was opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Gogoi said, “Our protest against the proposed legislation is primarily to safeguard democracy, the Indian Constitution and Assam. The three are of equal importance to us.”

“Therefore, even if Bangladesh is kept out of the purview of the Bill and the two notifications issued in September 2015, the interests of the indigenous population and culture of Assam will be safeguarded but democracy and the Indian Constitution will still be under threat, for which we will continue our crusade against the Bill,” he warned.

Under the Citizenship Bill, 1955, citizenship by naturalization can be acquired by foreigners who are ordinarily residents in India for 14 years (throughout the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of application and for 11 years in the aggregate of 14 years preceding the 12 months.

“However, under the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, migrants from the three countries can enter India without visas and passports and acquire citizenship in six years,” the KMSS leader said.

Gogoi also said that the government has still not stated that it would keep Bangladesh out of the purview of the Bill and that the JPC has in the wake of the growing opposition to the proposed legislation had said so.

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