After ‘Jinnah’ comment, Himanta says Hindus will be minority in Assam if Citizenship Bill not passed

Himanta Biswa Sarma. File

Himanta Biswa Sarma. File

A day after stoking controversy with his “Jinnah’s legacy” comment, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said Hindus in the State will become minority within five years if the Citizenship Bill is not passed.

The senior BJP leader stood by his “Jinnah’s legacy” remark and said those who are protesting against him do not know the history of Assam and its formation during the partition of India.

“I strongly believe that if this Bill is not passed, then Hindus in Assam will become minority in just next five years. That will be advantageous to those elements who want Assam to be another Kashmir and a part of the uncertain phase there,” Mr. Sarma told PTI .

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant nationality to people belonging to minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of their residence in India.

Several indigenous organisations in the State have been opposing the Bill as they believe it would harm their cultural identity.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on January 5 asked the people to keep calm as the State government would never do anything to harm their interests.

The Finance Minister said those aware of the history of Assam know that the Muslim League had wanted it to be a part of Pakistan but first chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi and the then Congress leaders had foiled that attempt.

“It was not only the Muslim League that wanted to have Assam in that plan, but the same demand was also raised from inside the state at that point of time. Those elements are still there.

“When I say it, I say it from historical perspective and what is happening in Assam. So, it has nothing to do with politics,” Mr. Sarma said.

On Sunday night, the senior Assam Minister commented that the State will go “Jinnah’s way” if the Citizenship Bill is not passed and people are opposing it in a reactionary way with the intellectuals trying to build a wrong narrative.

“Without that Bill, we are surrendering to the philosophy of Jinnah. If those people are not there, the Sarbhog seat will go to Jinnah. Do we want that? This is a fight between Jinnah’s legacy and India’s legacy,” Mr. Sarma had said.

Sarbhog is an Assembly seat in Barpeta district. BJP State president Ranjeet Kumar Dass is the MLA of Sarbhog.

“So, let the Bill be passed and we will see if there is a provision of welcoming Bangladeshis in it. And I am sure, that is not there,” he had said at a press conference.

The powerful All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) have described Mr. Sarma’s comments as an attempt to polarise the Assamese society ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 9:30:59 pm |