Other States

Assam bodies weigh legal options against CAB

Hiren Gohain.

Hiren Gohain.  

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Protests across northeast intensified since November 18.

Individuals and organisations batting for the interest of indigenous groups in the northeastern States are weighing legal options against the “communal and unconstitutional” Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, or CAB, that the Centre proposes to reintroduce in Parliament.

The Bill seeks to fast-track the process of granting citizenship to non-Muslims who have allegedly fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Protests across the northeastern States, specifically Assam which fears of being dumped with non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, have intensified since November 18 when the winter session of Parliament began. Most of these protests have been coordinated by the North East Students’ Organisation. The Assam-based Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a peasants’ body, has also been spearheading a parallel protesting.

Former teacher and activist Hiren Gohain, aligned with this organisation, said during an anti-CAB demonstration that it might not be enough to just hit the streets against the “divisive and communal” Bill. “The BJP and its allies enjoy the majority and can have the CAB passed in both Houses of Parliament. But we have the window of challenging any discriminatory legislation in the Supreme Court,” he said.

BJP leaders in the northeast have also been wary of repercussions if the Bill is passed. While the Meghalaya unit of the Party has asked the Centre to keep the State out of the Bill’s purview, pressure is mounting on the party’s Assam unit to discuss the issue in the Assembly, whose winter session starts on November 28.

“The Meghalaya Assembly had taken a resolution against CAB. The BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh has also voiced its opposition to the Bill. We should also discuss the issue in the House,” said a BJP legislator, declining to be quoted.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 7:56:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-bodies-weigh-legal-options-against-cab/article30063197.ece

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