"The Narendra Modi government is imposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on the people of the Northeastern region in the interest of its vote bank. It wants to make illegal Bangladeshis Indian citizens to use them as the BJP's vote bank," AASU chief advisor Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya told a press conference.
Assam can no longer take the burden of additional foreigners who had entered India till December 2014 as the state, on behalf of the country, had already taken the burden of all who have come till 1971, Bhattacharya said adding that this had been explained to Home Minister Amit Shah on December 4, a day before the Union Cabinet cleared the Bill.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, "... any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014... shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act".
A large section of people and organisations in the Northeast have opposed the bill, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.
"If Indian citizenship is accorded to those already in the state, more Bangladeshis will be encouraged to come here. We won't accept CAB that violates the Assam Accord," said the leader of the AASU that was one of the signatories of the Accord signed in presence of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
On 15 August, 1985, Rajiv Gandhi had announced the signing of the Accord from the Red Fort, he said adding that it is a national commitment which LK Adavni and AB Vajpayee of the BJP and leaders of other parties had welcomed in Parliament.
"We cannot let the sacrifice of the 860 martyrs and of the hundreds who have been rendered physically disabled because of taking part in the Assam Movement go waste by allowing the CAB to be implemented", Bhattacharya added.
AASU general secretary Luringjyoti Gogoi said the organisation would not allow illegal foreigners to take away the rights of the indigenous people.
Giving details of its agitational programme, he said torch light processions would be taken out in the evenings of Saturday and Sunday to protest against the Bill.
Effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal would also be burnt, Gogoi said.
A bandh will be observed in the state, along with other states of the region on Tuesday while the AASU workers will go for a hunger strike on December 13, he said.
AASU president Dipanka Nath said the CAB will not be applicable in the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime areas - Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram - and those tribal regions of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura which are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
"It appears the CAB is bad in those areas. Then how does it become good in the rest of Assam?" Nath said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there. They will be given Indian citizenship after residing in the country for five years, instead of 11 years which is the current rule.
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