Guwahati | December 16, 2017
BJP in Assam defended the party's move to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 to offer citizenship to Hindu and other minorities from Bangladesh saying former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had made the same promise in Lok Sabha in 1952.
"Nehru had made the statement in Lok Sabha that India will accept the Hindu and other minorities in Pakistan who settled in the country due to religious persecution. But Congress failed to keep the promise made by their leader Nehru. Now when BJP has initiated steps to implement it, Congress is playing politics over the issue. Since its birth, BJP has been saying that it is committed to offer Citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis who had settled in the country till December 31,2016," BJP spokespersons Rupam Goswami and Maminul Awal said in a statement.
The bill, which was referred to a joint parliamentary committee following strong protests in Asaam, is likely to be tabled in the winter session of the Parliament which began on Friday.
Many in Assam including the opposition Congress and Asom Gana Parishad, an ally of the BJP government in Assam are against the bill.
Students' organization has threatened a fresh agitation against the bill saying it is against the historic Assam Accord of 1985. The Accord which was signed beteen former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the anti-foreigner agitators in Asaam following the six-year-long Asaam Agitation. The Accord agreed to detect and deport illegal migrants from Bangladesh living in Assam with March 24,1971 as cut off date. The National Register of Citizens 1951 is being updated in Asaam as per the Assam Accord and under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Many organizations including the influential All Asaam Students' Union has said that it would fight "tooth and nail" against the move to offer citizenship on the basis of religion.
Some, however, demanded that the Hindu migrants should not be settled in Assam only and should be divided among other states. Many said the bill would make 20 lakh illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh Indian citizens and would threaten the identity of the indigenous people in the state.
Pro-BJP groups and those repeating Hindus says the Hindus would look upto India as they were forced to leave their ancestral homes in Bangladesh or East Pakistan due to attack and harassment by the majority Muslims.