Congress MP stages solo protest against Citizenship Bill

It will endanger the indigenous identity of Assam, says PCC chief Bora

December 06, 2019 10:05 pm | Updated 10:05 pm IST - New Delhi

Ripun Bora staging a protest against the Citizenship Bill in New Delhi on Friday.

Ripun Bora staging a protest against the Citizenship Bill in New Delhi on Friday.

Rajya Sabha member and Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora staged a solo protest at the Gandhi statue in Parliament against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Friday. The legislation is misleading, he said.

He sat holding a poster that read “Protest against murder of Assam accord ‘the soul of Assam’.” Under the accord, foreigners who have come to Assam “on or after March 25, 1971, shall continue to be detected, deleted and practical steps shall be taken to expel them.” In the Bill, the cut-off date is 2014, and it will grant citizenship to all non-Muslim refugees who came to Assam after 1971, too.

Congress workers across Assam are on a hunger strike against the legislation. Mr. Bora said the Bill is not only unconstitutional since it uses religion as a criterion to grant citizenship, against the basic tenet of the Constitution, but also against the interest of the people of Assam.

The new version of the Bill shields tribal areas under Schedule 6 of the Constitution and the States with inner line permit. “The Bill is misleading, what protection are they talking about? The protection already exists for areas under the ambit of Article 371 of the Constitution,” Mr. Bora said.

He said the legislation would endanger Assam’s indigenous identity. “In Assam, we have taken the burden of huge migration of people during the British regime, partition of India in 1947 and after the 1971 Bangladesh war. The Bill will only add to the burden. The demographic picture of Assam has already changed, and with this legislation our identity will be in danger,” he told The Hindu.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had clarified on Thursday while speaking in Kozhikode, Kerala that his party will oppose the Bill. In the Lok Sabha where the BJP government is in majority the Bill will easily pass. In the Rajya Sabha senior Congress leaders said that even if the Opposition doesn’t have the numbers to stall the Bill, they will vote against it.

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