If talks between the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) members on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, were inconclusive on Tuesday last, father figure of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Northeast and former Union Minister Kabindra Purkayastha looked in a good mood while reading the newspaper on a misty morning of Wednesday at his residence in Silchar.
Even when hectic parleys are on to table the bill in the forthcoming winter session of parliament amidst strong opposition by a group of MPs in this JPC committee, BJP’s tactics of making an entry through the back door by bringing in an ordinance has been aptly supported by Purkayastha.
Speaking to Northeast Now he said, “I have believed it for a long time that since it is a party decision of the BJP, things would be worked out to get the bill passed at any cost. I have personally travelled to Delhi twice solely to garner support for this purpose. Met various departmental heads including ones in the Home Ministry and all of them have heard our voices and agreed to support it with earnest. Now that talks are on to place it before parliament, I only appeal for full support of this bill to get it passed.”
On being asked about the imminent divide of ideologies between the Brahmaputra and the Barak valleys on this grave issue, the veteran BJP leader, informed, “I believe that such a feeling should not be allowed to grow. Our party’s decision as well as many other like minded organizations both from Barak and Brahmaputra valleys is on a same platform to grant citizenship to these oppressed class of people.”
He added, “Those who are opposing this bill should now accept it. They should understand that these people who for no fault of theirs had to suffer the holocaust of partition and atrocities, have come here and have been living for years together. Have helped too in all round development of this state of Assam and never have worked against it. Unfortunately, some are opposed to settling them, for they are just concerned about their own self interest. This ill feeling and hatred would be washed off soon is what I strongly believe and advocate.”
“Those who are ‘refugees’ cannot be ‘foreigners’. Oppressed class of people who have come from Bangladesh, especially, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Parsis, should be allowed to stay in India, citizenship provided to them and should be treated at par with other people staying in India,” Purkayastha said.
Before winding up his conversations with Northeast Now, the former union minister added, “We have witnessed an Assam bandh on Tuesday on this issue. It should not have taken place, but anyway, it goes on to prove that all are not in favour of this bill. Nonetheless, if placed in parliament this winter session, it needs to be passed by hook or crook.”