Citizenship bill: Rajnath rings up AASU, desire to resolve the issue

AASU and North East Students Organisation (NESO) Chief Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya insisted that the bill “which will make the indigenous people extinct and only protect the Bangladeshis has to be scrapped.


Guwahati

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has rang up the All Assam Students Union (AASU) spearheading the agitation over the Citizenship Amendment Bill expressing the Centre’s desire to resolve the issue through discussions, a statement by the students’ body said here Friday.

Talking to Singh, AASU and North East Students Organisation (NESO) Chief Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya insisted that the bill “which will make the indigenous people extinct and only protect the Bangladeshis has to be scrapped as desired by the people of Assam and the northeast region.”

NESO is the umbrella organisation of major students unions of the seven northeastern states.

“Only through implementation of the historic Assam Assam Accord 1985, signed at the end of the Assam Movement, the burning issue of citizenship problem has to be solved,” the statement quoted Bhattacharyya as telling the minister.

A six-year long movement by the AASU demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord by the Rajiv Gandhi government and the AASU on August 15, 1985.

AASU president Dipanka Nath and General Secretary Luringjyoti Gogoi said the organisation will apprise the leadership of its allied 30 ethnic community and the NESO about Rajnath Singh’s phone call.

Asserting that the controversial bill has to be scrapped, the two AASU leaders said the organisation is firm about its demand and will continue its agitation for the existence of indigenous people.

Rajnath Singh also discussed the matter with Mizoram and Meghalaya chief ministers in a meeting in New Delhi during the day.

Meanwhile, the Asom Gana Parishad(AGP) that severed its alliance with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state recently over the bill, took out a torch rally in Guwahati on Friday evening as part of its statewide protest.

The controversial bill passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8 seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

Protests against the Citizenship Bill have rocked the entire northeast region, with several indigenous organisations raising voice against the legislation, citing threat to their identity and culture.

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