AGP fights citizenship bill

Party wants migrants to be detected and deported

By Tejesh Kumar in Bongaigaon
  • Published 15.10.16
AGP leaders at the party's foundation day event at Sarupeta in Barpeta district on Friday. Telegraph picture

Bongaigaon, Oct. 14: The AGP, a key coalition partner of the BJP-led government in Assam, today vowed to continue its protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill to be placed by the Union government in Parliament next month.

The bill, if passed, will pave the way for granting Indian citizenship to Hindu migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had entered India illegally to escape religious persecution.

The proposed citizenship legislation, which aims to give Indian citizenship to persecuted Hindu refugees from the above mentioned countries, was a promise made by the BJP before the last parliamentary as well as the Assam Assembly polls.

The AGP, however, has demanded that the illegal migrants be detected and deported from the state according to the Assam Accord irrespective of their religion.

The contentious bill now seems to have put the two allies on a collision course though the AGP leaders today refrained from making a direct attack on the BJP.

Addressing a gathering on the the party's 32nd foundation day at Sarupeta in Barpeta district today, AGP president and agriculture minister Atul Bora vehemently opposed the bill as it will violate the Assam Accord.

Remembering the sacrifices of the martyrs of the Assam agitation, Bora said their sacrifices will not go in vain.

The six-year Assam Agitation ended with the signing of the Assam Accord on Independence Day in 1985. The leaders of the Assam Agitation formed the AGP on October 14, 1985, in Golaghat and the party later that year overthrew the Congress government led by late Hiteshwar Saikia.

Echoing Bora, former Assam chief minister and senior party leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said, "No way can we allow the Centre to alter the Assam Accord. We will continue our protest against it."

Most of the speakers in the meeting expressed concern that the very existence of the indigenous communities will come under threat if Parliament passes the bill.

There had been protests by other organisations and individuals against the bill who had termed it "communally motivated".

According to them, by seeking to grant citizenship on the basis of religious denomination, the bill is a blatant violation of the Constitution.

The AGP president today asked the party's district units to get ready for the central executive meeting to be held in November in which a new party president will be selected.

Prominent party leaders like Bongaigaon MLA Phani Bhusan Choudhury, Gunindra Nath Das, Biren Baishya, Kumar Dipak Das, Kamala Kalita, Renupoma Rajkhowa and Nurul Hussain were also among those who attended the programme, which was organised by the party's Bajali district unit.