The leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, has condemned the statement made in the Rajya Sabha on July 25 by the Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, that Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees, Jains and Christians who came to various states including Assam would not be considered to be illegal migrants.
“This announcement has clearly exposed the BJP government’s conspiracy to legitimize the presence of illegal Hindu Bangladeshi migrants in Assam and is a harbinger of grief for Assam,” Saikia said.
Saikia pointed out that the Assam Accord stipulates that those foreign nationals who came to Assam after March 24, 1971 will be classified as illegal migrants.
The previous Congress government of the state led by chief minister Tarun Gogoi had written to the Central government suggesting that citizenship may be granted to those settlers who were eligible as per existing laws and rules. Instead of doing so the BJP government brought in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which has been designed by the BJP to nullify the Assam Accord.
Saikia said that Rijiju’s statement discriminating between people on grounds of religion has lowered the dignity of both the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court in view of the fact that the process of updating the National Register of Citizens is at a final stage under the supervision of the Apex Court.
“The concept of having different yardsticks for grant of citizenship based on religion is alien to the democratic and secular ethos of India,” he said.
Saikia also termed as unfortunate and condemnable the state BJP and AGP leaders’ silence over Rijiju’s questionable announcement regarding the issue of illegal migrants.