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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Congress team tours northeast, says it will oppose CAB tooth and nail

CAB aims to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan while the NRC has identified 1.9 million people—including Hindus-- in Assam, who could be declared illegal immigrants.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2019 12:00 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CAB has led to apprehensions among several aboriginals in the northeast  that it may lead to dilution of their culture and political influence.
CAB has led to apprehensions among several aboriginals in the northeast that it may lead to dilution of their culture and political influence.(PTI Photo/File)
         

A six-member Congress team visiting the northeast to better assess the ground situation, said in Guwahati, that the trip had reinforced party’s opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

A senior leader in the team, led by general secretary Mukul Wasnik, said his party, however, didn’t support illegal immigration and took several measures to stop it, when in power.

CAB aims to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, while the NRC has identified 1.9 million people—including Hindus-- in Assam, who could be declared illegal immigrants if they failed to prove their citizenship.

“We will fight the CAB together with other like-minded parties. The Left parties and the Trinamool Congress are also against the bill,” said Jairam Ramesh, a member of the team.

The team also includes Manickam Tagore, Mohammad Ali Khan, Jitendra Singh and Ranajit Mukherjee. They toured parts of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura and will submit a report to party president Sonia Gandhi.

The senior member mentioned above, added, that while the party was not against deportation of illegal immigrants, it didn’t support the way the NRC had been designed and executed.

“Over 1.9 million people are declared homeless and that includes Hindus too,” he said.

The team’s visit to a detention centre in Assam’s Silchar was described as “depressing and sobering” by Jairam Ramesh.

“Visited a detention centre in Silchar just now. 48 genuine Indian citizens not having ‘proper’ papers. 17 from Bangladesh, who strayed in and want to go back but are not being accepted, and 6 from Myanmar, who don’t want to go back. A very depressing and sobering experience...” Ramesh tweeted.

While the NRC may be debated in the winter session of Parliament that begins on November 18, there is no clarity if CAB will be introduced before the session ends on December 13.