Citizenship Amendment Bill
Former CM Tarun Gogoi

Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday lambasted the BJP-AGP combine in the State for not opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 that proposes to grant citizenship to illegal Hindu Bangladeshis among others and maligning the image of the Congress with a slew of lies.

Addressing a news conference here, Gogoi refuted the allegations of State Industry and Commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, who had stated on Friday that it was the Congress which had first sought that the illegal migrants from Bangladesh be given citizenship.

The former CM clarified that in May, 2014 a memorandum had been sent to the Prime Minister apprising him of the persecution of many migrants who had come to Assam during the partitions, first in 1947 and again   in 1971 when Bangladesh was formed and sought that they be given shelter and refugee status but not citizenship.

He challenged Patowary to make any government document public which could support his claim that the Gogoi government had supported the Bill.

Gogoi further said that Patowary’s citing the reason that due to the NRC update process being on for the government not taking a stand on the Bill was not acceptable as these were two separate issues.

“The BJP led Government’s non opposition to the Bill when the Joint Parliamentary Committee had visited the state for hearings on the bill spoke of a very submissive attitude towards the Centre’s agenda whether it was good or bad, “he said.

The JPC, earlier this week, had held hearings from various organizations and individuals on the bill in Guwahati and Silchar and Meghalaya.

Gogoi came down heavily on Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for going to Vietnam at a time when there was so much unrest and mass market protests against the Bill in the State.
Sonowal along with the Agriculture Minister Atul Bora is scheduled to go to Vietnam on Sunday along with a farmers’ delegation to know about latest agricultural practices.

The former three-time Chief Minister praised Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma for his government opposing the said Bill.
Taking a dig at the government, Gogoi questioned whether those running the government possessed the blood of brave Ahom General Lachit Bar Phukan who had kept the Meghalaya at bay or of the traitor Badan Barphukon – an Ahom military commander who had invited Burmese forces to invade Assam.

Responding to a query on his party was also divided on the Bill, Gogoi admitted that there was difference of opinion between Congress leaders belonging to Brahmaputra and Barak Valleys but that this was not new as such a division had arisen during the Assamese language agitation several decades ago, but the official stand of the party had prevailed.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com

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