ITANAGAR, Jan 11: Even if the Centre had made it clear that the bill is not just for Assam or the Northeast but is valid for all states and Union Territories as well, protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 continued in the region with Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee, of late, joining the chorus against the same.
Terming the passing of the Citizenship Bill as “totally unconstitutional, discriminatory, communal and against the ethics and essence of the Constitution of India”, APCC president Takam Sanjoy alleged that the BJP government at the Centre ever since assuming power in 2014, instead of developing the country, particularly the Northeast region, has been trying to create chaos, communal tension, hatred, arrogance.
Sanjoy said this while briefing media at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan here on Friday at the backdrop of passing of the most controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday last amid protests by opposition parties who termed the proposed law “divisive” and “flawed”.
“The latest decision of bringing in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 by the BJP-led government at the Centre is adding more fuel to the existing anti-foreigner and anti-refugee movements in the entire Northeast region,” stated the ex-parliamentarian, while informing that the Congress party at the centre had strongly boycotted the decision and walked out of the Lok Sabha when the voting for the same was going on.
Condemning the Citizenship Bill, which he said has “the taste of communalism”, the APCC president added that India is a secular country and no community can be despised according to the philosophy and ethics of the Constitution.
Stating that when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) updating process is already going on in Assam to determine the illegal immigrants irrespective of religion, caste and creed, he questioned why this Citizenship (Amendment) Bill only for the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians is brought in the Parliament.
“This is nothing but a last minute politics of the BJP government to garner support and to appease a particular community to vote for the BJP,” Sanjoy claimed, adding that the BJP is not going to get any benefit out of this, except for creating communal tension against tribals, against minorities and against thousands of ethnographical situation in the entire Northeast region.
The APCC president, meanwhile, lauded the Conrad K Sangma led Meghalaya government for passing of a resolution against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for severing its ties with the BJP-led coalition govt in Assam and the NEDA from the NDA coalition.
While taking a dig at Pema Khandu-led state government for its alleged stoic silence on the Citizenship Bill, the APCC chief called upon the ruling side for immediate passing of a resolution rejecting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is nothing but an attempt to divide the community, divide the society and population on the basis of religion and giving soft corner to some section.
“There are already movements and counter movements going on for refugees and PRC. But PM Modi is trying to create havoc in the Northeastern region of India,” Sanjoy alleged, adding that APCC strongly rejects the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and would fight tooth and nail against the same.
Stating that Arunachal Pradesh despite being protected by Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, there is chaos of refugees and illegal immigrants, Sanjoy asserted that Arunachal Pradesh should not be allowed to make the dumping ground of refugees and foreigners.
The APCC president further alleged the state government of selling various schemes such as PMGSY, SIDF, SADA etc for votes. “Various developmental schemes such as PMGSY, SIDF, SADA etc are being bartered for votes by the BJP government in the state,” he maintained, adding the Congress party won’t keep mum and cautioned the government not to fool the public.
Further alleging that the state government is not giving “NOCs” to few government officers who had applied for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), Sanjoy said anyone can take VRS, giving one month prior notice and government cannot curtail it.
“Few officers who had applied for VRS to contest elections are not given NOC which is a serious matter,” he said while claiming that unless the CM gives signal no one is given NOC from the Vigilance department.
This is a very serious breach and we are soon going to meet the state’s Chief Electoral Officer and the Election Commission of India in this regard, he added.