Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah sought credit in Parliament, on July 31, for publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Meanwhile, BJP coalition partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has alleged that the Narendra Modi government has sent “four pretatmas” (evil spirits) to destroy the NRC.
On August 6, AGP president and Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said that the NRC update exercise was a major step towards solving the foreigners problem of Assam but certain proposed changes in the Citizenship Act and in the passport rules seeking to grant citizenship to people on the basis of religion went against the spirit of the Assam Accord as well as the NRC exercise.
THE FOUR EVILS
“I thank Amit Shah for saying that NRC is the aatma (soul) of Assam Accord. But to protect this aatma, the Modi government must remove four pretatmas-Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015, Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015 and long-term visa for people from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Any back-handed means of the Central government to grant Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants through amendments in the citizenship laws and passport rules would nullify the updated NRC,” said Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora at a press conference in Guwahati.
The NDA partner asserted that it would foil any attempt by the Centre to grant Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants on the basis of religion. Opposing the Centre’s attempt to convert illegal immigrants into Indian citizens citing the factor of religion and religious persecution in neighbouring countries, Bora called upon the Modi government to immediately shelve plans to pass the Citizenship Bill or to change passport rules.
“We request Shah to take the lead in safeguarding the soul of the Assam Accord and take steps to withdraw the Citizenship Bill. Otherwise, the NRC will lose its true purpose,” Bora said.
The Modi government introduced the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha on July 16, 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. It seeks to provide citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who have faced religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The proposed bill received widespread protests across Assam as it has been seen as a ploy to grant citizenship to illegal Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh.
“Our position is very clear. Those who have come to Assam after 1971 cannot be Indian citizens. It doesn’t matter whether they are Hindus or Muslims,” says Samujjal Bhattacharya, patron of All Assam Students Union (AASU), which led the six-year-long Assam agitation against illegal infiltrators in the state.
Meanwhile, Bora also demanded a national NRC saying that the foreigners’ issue was no longer confined to Assam only and affected the entire country. Earlier in the day a delegation of the AGP met NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela, and submitted a memorandum demanding an error-free NRC.
There have been several reports from across the state that many genuine Indian citizens have been left out of the NRC. The draft NRC was published on July 30. Of the 32 million people in Assam, four million were left out in draft NRC.
News credit : Indiatoday