BJP ally JD(U) joins protest against proposed Citizenship Bill

Guwahati: Despite being BJP’s ally Janata Dal( Untied) on Saturday opposed against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 stating the Bill would threaten the cultural and linguistic identity of the indigenous people of Assam.

“If the citizenship bill is passed, it would nullify the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is currently under way in Assam,” said JD (U) national secretary Sanjay Verma, adding that, “India is a secular country and citizenship cannot be determined on the basis of religion,” NewNation reported.

He further added that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is “completely opposed” to the bill.

BJP Government had introduced the citizenship Bill in 2016 which proposes citizenship for religious minorities – effectively, all non-Muslim immigrants – from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Migrants who entered Assam after March 24, 1971 (the cutoff date on the basis of which the NRC is being updated) should not be granted citizenship,” Verma said.

Other BJP allies have also expressed their strong disapproval over the proposed Bill. With JD (U) joining the protest the AGP in Assam had threatened to nullify the coalition government if the bill were to be passed in Parliament.

Another BJP ally, Shiv Sena, also said it would back AGP and oppose the bill in Parliament. The National People’s Party in Meghaliya and Nagaland Cabinet are following the footsteps of opposing Bill.

“It comes as a morale booster for several organizations spearheading the movement to save democracy and the secular foundation of our Constitution. We welcome the stand JD (U) has taken despite being BJP’s ally. Now, our hope is that JD (U) MPs take up the matter in Parliament and ensure the bill is not passed,” Akhil Gogoi, adviser of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, said.

Gogoi further added, “The message is becoming clear now that this bill is unconstitutional.”