The Prabajan Virodhi Manch, a forum against infiltration, in a simultaneous exercise on Saturday collected more than four lakh signatures from all districts of upper Assam and some parts of middle Assam registering its massive opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.
The Centre for Medical and Sales Representative Union (CRU), North East Region, on the other hand has sent a memorandum to the Joint Parliamentary Committee, Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 voicing their opposition and asking the Central government not to violate the provisions of the Indian Constitution and the Assam Accord.
Upamanyu Hazarika, convenor of Prabajan Virodhi Manch said that the signatories had sought that the cut-off date to be 1951 as it was in this year that the National Register of Citizens had been made and the progeny of all those included as Indian citizens including those residing in Assam in the NRC should be considered as citizens of India.
The Manch demanded that taking 1951 as base year, a legislation should be enacted wherein rights of these citizens be protected as regards ownership of resources, reserve land, government employment, trade licenses, reservation in educational institutions etc.
The signatories also demanded the reversal of the proposed Bill and ensuring that Assam would not have to bear the burden of any further migrants.
“The citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 has evoked little or no protests in neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya even though if the Bill becomes an Act it will as applicable to those states as to Assam, the reason for no protests in these states is because the local indigenous populations have absolute right over resources including land to the exclusion of others,” Hazarika said.
An Indian citizen from rest of the country cannot get access to resources in such states and therefore even if citizenship is granted under the proposed Amendment to migrants this will have no impact upon them, Hazarika further said.
The convenor said that if the indigenous people were not to become a minority in their own state it was imperative for the Assam Assembly to pass a protective legislation in which all resources would be owned by the indigenous people and not to Bangladeshi migrants.
As per the Assam Accord which fixed 24, March, 1971 as the cut-off date for identifying and deporting illegal migrants, Assam had already taken the burden of 23 years which other states had not.
Hazarika questioned why there should be discrimination for Assam as regards the cut off year not being 1951as it was for the other states.
“Today upper and middle Assam have sent out a very strong and clear message to the government and all political parties that they do not have the right to mortgage our future for their personal interests. This is a message that all political parties have to clear their stand before they seek our votes in the next election,” he said.