Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM), a pressure group campaigning against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and fighting for the protection of the indigenous people of Assam, on Tuesday demanded that the BJP-led Assam Government make legislation similar to the Manipur People Bill, 2018.
A report published in the The Telegraph quoted Upamanyu Hazarika, convener of the Manch, who is also a lawyer of the Supreme Court, as saying, “The Manipur Assembly on July 23 enacted the Manipur People Act, 2018, reserving land, Government benefits, employment only for those who were citizens of India in 1951 and their progeny. Recent events in Assam demonstrate that regardless of the outcome of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), indigenous people can be saved from becoming a minority only if a similar legislation is enacted by the Assam Assembly.”
Hazarika alleged that the Assam Government is leaving no stone unturned to appease the alleged Bangladeshis. “Just two instances will suffice to show this. One, the State Government is going to recruit gaonburahs (village headmen) in different districts. Even for Dhubri, where a large number of discrepancies in the NRC process have come to light, the administration is proceeding with the appointment of gaonburahs even before the final NRC is published. lt is in this manner that many foreigners like Khairul Islam, have found Government jobs,” he said.
It may be recalled that Khairul Islam was a school teacher who was declared non-national by a foreigners tribunal in 2016 but was found engaged in the update of the NRC. His name was also there in the draft NRC. “Secondly, in Sipajhar of Darrang district, the State Government is building roads for encroachers of Fuhuratoli Professional Grazing Reserve (PGR). Permanent settlement is prohibited under law in any PGR. It is learnt that the district administration is proceeding with building houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin scheme for these encroachers. It is corruption of votes and money, which sustains the politicians, bureaucrats and protects the Bangladeshis,” Hazarika said.
Hazarika asked why the BJP-led Government in Assam cannot come up with a protective legislation on the lines of Manipur. “Unless land, resources, Government employment, Government benefits are reserved for those who were citizens of India in 1951 and their progeny, the indigenous people will be victims of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and become a minority,” Hazarika said.
“We appeal to the Centre and the Prime Minister to ensure that such a protective legislation is passed to fulfill the promise of protecting ‘jati, mati, bheti’ of the indigenous people of Assam,” he said.