Lawyers protest citizen bill

Lawyers protest in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by Manash Das

Guwahati: Lawyers on Tuesday staged demonstrations across Assam and shot off letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the joint parliamentary committee against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The All Assam Lawyers' Association and it's affiliated units staged sit-ins at the district and sub-divisional headquarters in the state from 1pm to 2pm and sent letters to the prime minister and the joint committee on the bill to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, headed by Meerut Lok Sabha MP Rajendra Agrawal through the respective district administrations.

The bill that seeks to grant citizenship by naturalisation to minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who came to India before December 31, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha in July 2016 and it was referred to the joint committee of both the Houses for examination prior to presenting a report in Parliament.

The lawyers' association, in its letters, said the proposed legislation seeking to confer citizenship upon migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan belonging to Hindu and few other communities should not be taken up for further consideration as in their comprehension there are Constitutional bars and other improprieties.

"There is no dispute that Assam has been a victim of unabated influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh and as a result the demography of the state has changed. If the present trend of unabated influx, either through illegitimate or legitimate means continue, it is feared that the indigenous people, who are predominantly tribal, would soon become a minority and meet the same fate of the indigenous people of Tripura," the letters said.

They also pointed out that with the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985 and consequent amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955, vide Act number 56 of 1985, Section 6A was inserted in the Act, giving legitimacy to illegal migrants from East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) who entered Assam upto March 25, 1971.

"In that process Assam has already absorbed millions of illegal migrants from Bangladesh and now, if citizenship is granted to lakhs of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who illegally entered the state upto December 31, 2014, it would further complicate the demographic profile of the state," they said.


Back to top icon