After protests over citizenship bill, Assam BJP says will wait for final list
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After protests over citizenship bill, Assam BJP says will wait for final list

The party has come under pressure after various influential groups, including the All Assam Students Union, said they will not accept granting of citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus.

india Updated: May 14, 2018 09:22 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam citizenship,National Register of Citizens,citizenship to Bangladeshis
People in Guwahati protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 proposal to provide citizenship or stay rights in India to minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.(AFP file photo)

After emotive protests in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have changed tack on the issue in the state.

BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass says the party will now wait till the National Register of Citizens (NRC) final list comes out on June 30 before formulating its stand on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

“We will have discussions with all stakeholders after the NRC list comes out and then take a decision on the proposed bill,” Dass said.

“An organisation is trying to derail the ongoing National Register of Citizens exercise,” Dass said. While he did not specify which group, Dass claims this group is spreading the misinformation that “Assam will be flooded with 1.5 crore Bangladeshi Hindus if the Bill is passed”.

Dass added that these groups are playing with the emotions of the people of Assam and trying to create a law and order situation that would eventually derail the NRC.

On Sunday morning, the top state BJP leaders held a meeting in the presence of party general secretary Ram Madhav to deliberate on the Bill.

Earlier, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, had met a select group of editors on Saturday and claimed that he will not do anything against the interests of the people of Assam.

The party has come under pressure after protests from various influential groups during the recent visit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to the state.

Several groups in the Brahmaputra Valley, including the All Assam Students Union, other students bodies of indigenous groups and even political parties, including the BJP’s ally in government, the Asom Gana Parishad, had said they will not accept granting of citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus.

These groups say the bill will violate the Assam Accord of 1985 and citizenship cannot be granted on the basis of religion. The groups had also said how the bill would make the ongoing NRC an exercise in futility.

Interestingly, top ministers in the Assam government, including CM Sonowal, trace back their political journey to the Assam Movement and the All Assam Students Union (AASU).

BJP’s state unit, interestingly, did not meet the JPC in Guwahati, even though the Barak Valley unit of the party met the visiting MPs in support of the bill during the JPC’s visit to Silchar.

Dass had said how there was no need for the party to give its view since the bill has been brought in by the BJP. He was also earlier dismissive of the protests and had told this reporter how “groups with no mandate were trying to make a noise on the issue”.

First Published: May 14, 2018 08:56 IST