Assam divided over Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Guwahati: The difference between the two groups in Assam has come to a divide over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that came to light on Tuesday. More than 190 organisations submitted a memorandum in South Assam’s Barak Valley to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) supporting the proposed bill.

Assamese-majority Brahmaputra Valley on Monday registered a strong opposition to the proposed amendment during the first day of the five-days long visit of JPC and Bengali-dominated Barak Valley. On the other hand, in South Assam’s Barak Valley, a majority of the organisations, the stakeholders and individuals came out in support of the bill on Tuesday, said a report by The Asian Age.

The Assam Peoples Association (AGP), an ally of BJP, that also does not support the bill said in a submission that the passage to the bill would put the identity of Assamese people at stake. Moreover, the Opposition Congress leaders of Brahmaputra Valley also of this view.

Contrary to the large opposition, Barak Valley senior Congress leaders including Congress MP and MLAs on Monday supported the bill and advocated citizenship for Hindu-Bengali who came to India because of religious persecution.

Though the majority of BJP leaders including ministers are tight-lipped on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, MoS for railway and BJP MP Rajen Gohain openly supported the amendment.