Akhil poser on CM 'integrity'

Questioning Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on the foreigner issue, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) on Tuesday asked him to make his stand clear regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, after the BJP national executive's endorsement of it on Sunday.

By Sumir Karmakar in Guwahati
  • Published 12.09.18
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Guwahati: Questioning Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on the foreigner issue, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) on Tuesday asked him to make his stand clear regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, after the BJP national executive's endorsement of it on Sunday.

"When a group of editors here had asked Sonowal about his stand on the bill on May 12, he said what was the point of him being the chief minister if he cannot protect the interest of the people of the state? Now when his party has endorsed the bill in its national executive meeting in New Delhi where Sonowal himself was present, he should make his stand clear to the people, who consider him as a jatiya nayak to save them from illegal foreigners. He must do so to prove his integrity about the foreigner issue which he had used to excel in politics," KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said in a news conference here.

Organisations, mainly in the Brahmaputra Valley, have been protesting the bill that seeks to offer citizenship to "persecuted" non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on humanitarian ground. Majority in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, however, are in favour of the bill, which was referred to a joint parliamentary committee following protests in Assam.

Most organisations in Assam say the bill, if passed, would reduce indigenous people into minority and their identity and culture would be threatened against large population of Hindu Bengalis who had settled in Assam after March 24, 1971, the cut-off date decided in the 1985 Assam Accord.

"Sonowal was the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) president, which has been fighting against foreigners and which signed the Assam Accord. Now, Sonowal should make it clear whether he wants implementation of the Accord or supports the BJP's amendment bill to give citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis," Akhil said.

Gogoi also asked the AGP, an ally of the BJP, to walk out of the government in view of the BJP's endorsement of the bill.

The AGP had on Monday slammed the endorsement saying the bill was against the interest of the indigenous communities.

AASU leaders said they would continue to fight against any move that deviated from implementing the Assam Accord in letter and spirit. They are against the bill as it went against the Accord.