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Assamese community in London opposes Citizenship Bill

Assamese community in London opposes Citizenship Bill

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Assamese Assamese

Guwahati (Assam), Aug 21, 2018:

The Assamese community in London has expressed deep concern over the Central government’s move to pass Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The community said if the Bill is passed, it will have a serious implication on the people of Assam and threaten their demography, culture and language.

A delegation of Assamese community in London, led by Dr. Benu Kakati, Rini Kakati, Dr. Apurba Baruah, Krishna Baruah, Dr. Sarada Sarma, Binu Sarma, Dr. Pallab Das and Dr. Amit Sarmah, on July 13 met Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha, and expressed its reservation over the Bill.

“The people, who are not Indian citizens, are not covered by the Constitution of India. If a large number of vulnerable refugees from Bangladesh need to be given Indian citizenship, then these refugees should be settled by the Central government in all over Indi, not in Assam alone,” the community insisted.

The delegation requested Sinha to convey its concern to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee that is dealing with the issue.

“There is a strong probability that a significant beneficiary of this amendment would be Bangladeshi Hindus and would immigrate to Assam. This will endanger the very existence of Assamese culture and Assamese identity. No other state faces such a risk and therefore, those states are indifferent to this development,” the delegation said.

“The Citizenship Bill breaches the fundamental principle of Indian Constitution in Article 14 which declares India as a sovereign, secular, democratic republic assuring its citizens justice and equality within the territory of India and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth within India or any of them. If a significant portion of Bangladeshi Hindu refugees entering India are given permanent settlement in Assam, the state’s demography, Assamese language and Assamese culture face a great identity crisis. If for humanitarian reasons these refugees escaping persecution need to be settled in India, they should be proportionately distributed to all the Indian states and Union Territories and not just in Assam.

“Based on Assam Accord, at the intervention of the Supreme Court of India and on the instruction of the Central Government, the government of Assam is engaged in intensive updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to include people permanently residing in the state till 24th March 1971 and to treat only those people as genuine citizens of the country. Under Assam Accord, Assam has already agreed to absorb an alarmingly large number of foreign nationals that had entered Assam illegally until March 1971,” the delegation added.