Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Wednesday took out a rally – Shankhanaad – against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 at Dibrugarh in Upper Assam.
The protest rally started from Old Government Boys’ High School field with participation of a huge number of party activists. All the senior members carried Shankha (conch shell) with them during the rally to show their opposition against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Ex-Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, IT & Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta, Food & Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhusan Choudhury, party leaders Birendra Prasad Baishya, Kamala Kalita, Hiranya Konwar and other AGP MLAs were participated in the rally.
Addressing the gathering, ex-CM Mahanta on Wednesday criticised the BJP-led Central Government for advocating the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. He said, “It’s a ploy of the BJP Government to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis by destroying the Assamese society.”
Mahanta added, “The draconian Bill is the threat to the Assamese culture and society. A large number of Hindus have been living in Bangladesh for many years and they celebrate Durga Puja every year. Then why is the BJP Government supporting the Bill to provide Indian citizenship to the Hindu Bangladeshis. We have opposed the Bill and warn the BJP Government to immediately withdraw the Bill, which is posing a threat for the indigenous people of Assam.”
The protesters holding placards and banners marched through the main streets of the town and culminated at the Chowkidinghee field. The protesters raised slogans to withdraw the Bill.
State Agriculture Minister and AGP president Atul Bora said, “We have opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill because it is against the Assam Accord, 1985. Before election, we had an understanding with the BJP on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill issue and but now they are supporting the Bill. We are an ally of the BJP in the Government, but we are against this draconian Bill.”
Bora also said, “According to the Assam Accord of 1985, anyone, who has entered Assam after March 24, 1971 should be treated as illegal migrants, irrespective of one’s religious affiliation. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 should be scrapped immediately since the culture, language and identity of the Assamese people are at stake.”
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was tabled in the Parliament in August, 2016, seeks to give Indian citizenship to religious minorities, other than Muslims, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in India, who have come to India till December 31, 2014.
“We are against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 because it will have an adverse impact on the Assamese society. The BJP-ruled Central Government is planning to bring Hindu-Bangladeshis in Assam, which is a threat for the indigenous people of Assam,” said IT and Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta.