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Citizenship Amendment Act : Undoing wrong done through Assam Accord, says Assam BJP

Hat trick: BJP working president J.P. Nadda being presented an Assamese japi at a party rally in Guwahati on Saturday.

Hat trick: BJP working president J.P. Nadda being presented an Assamese japi at a party rally in Guwahati on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Leaders of the BJP’s Assam unit said here on Saturday that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was designed to undo the damage done by the leaders of the Assam agitation who settled for 1971 as the cut-off year for accepting foreigners instead of 1951.

Former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was the president of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) when it led the agitation from 1979 to 1985. That stir ended with the signing of the Assam Accord, which prescribed deportation of “illegal immigrants” who entered the State after March 24, 1971.

“Assam was made to absorb the burden of illegal immigrants for 20 years by accepting 1971 as the base year instead of 1951 for accepting them. This was because of the Accord the AASU had signed with the Rajiv Gandhi government. Wasn’t that a betrayal by those who are branding us betrayers now [because of CAA],” asked State Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a rally of the party’s booth-level presidents and elected rural representatives in Guwahati.

Show of strength

The rally was a show of strength after other parties including the Congress had joined hands against the BJP in the past few days.

The BJP had been on the back foot after the stir shook the State in December with protesters attacking the houses of party MLAs and leaders.

Mr. Sarma was particularly severe on Mr. Mahanta, who had gone against the Asom Gana Parishad leadership to slam the CAA that he said would open the floodgates for “Hindu Bangladeshis” to threaten eventually the existence of the Assamese people.

The anti-CAA activists say the law violates the Assam Accord.

“Samujjal [Bhattacharyya, chief adviser to AASU] said the Accord was the best agreement. Why then was there no outrage when the Citizenship Act was amended in 1987 and 1992 for granting citizenship to the children of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants,” Mr. Sarma said.

People flustered

He said the first step toward setting things right was taken by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government when it decided not to let the children of illegal immigrants become Indians.

“Some people get flustered when we talk about the Hindus. The Congress has nothing against the CAA. They want the Muslims to be included. In Parliament, they had said they were opposed to it as the Muslims were not considered,” Mr. Sarma said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 6:50:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/citizenship-amendment-act-undoing-wrong-done-through-assam-accord-says-assam-bjp/article30480822.ece

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