Assam bandh
KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi while addressing a press conference in Guwahati on Sunday said that the KMSS was calling an Assam bandh for the first time.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) on Tuesday asked the Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to “come clean” on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) endorsement of it on Sunday. Sonowal was also questioned about the foreigner issue.

A report appearing in the The Telegraph quoted KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi as saying, “When a group of editors here (read in Guwahati) had asked Sonowal about his stand on the bill on May 12 last, he said what was the point of him being the Chief Minister if he cannot protect the interest of the people of the State? Now when his party has endorsed the bill in its national executive meeting in New Delhi where Sonowal himself was present, he should make his stand clear to the people, who consider him as a jatiya nayak to save them from illegal foreigners. He must do so to prove his integrity about the foreigner issue which he had used to excel in politics.

The report further stated that organisations, mainly in the Brahmaputra Valley, have been protesting the bill that seeks to offer citizenship to “persecuted” non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on humanitarian ground. Majority in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, however, are in favour of the bill, which was referred to a joint parliamentary committee following protests in Assam.

Most organisations in Assam say the bill, if passed, would reduce indigenous people into minority and their identity and culture would be threatened against large population of Hindu Bengalis who had settled in Assam after March 24, 1971, the cut-off date decided in the 1985 Assam Accord.

“Sonowal was the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) president, which has been fighting against foreigners and which signed the Assam Accord. Now, Sonowal should make it clear whether he wants implementation of the Accord or supports the BJP’s amendment bill to give citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis,” Akhil said.

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