The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will hold a crucial public hearing in Guwahati today.
Around 100 organizations, including the BJP-led government’s allies AGP and BPF, and opposition parties Congress and AIUDF, have applied to make representations before the panel headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal.
Former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has sought time to make a representation individually. The hearing will begin from 10:30 am at the Administrative Staff College here.
“Discussions will be held with migrants/NGOs/public representatives and other stakeholders to hear their views and suggestions on the matters relating to various provisions of the bill,” official sources quoted as saying by The Assam Tribune.
Representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice and State government will be present during the discussions and the committee is expected to have a separate discussion with them later after the organizations and individuals make their representations.
Each organization will be given time slots to make their representations. Only five members from an organization can meet the committee.
Meanwhile, the police on Sunday reviewed the arrangements for the public hearing. Over 300 security personnel are expected to be deployed in and around the venue to ensure there is no untoward incident.
On its maiden visit to the State, the JPC will move to Silchar for another round of public hearing on Tuesday, and on May 10 and 11 it will hold a similar exercise in Shillong. The proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act has been staunchly opposed by several groups in Assam.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced by the Centre in Lok Sabha in July, 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who belong to six communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – eligible for citizenship of India.