Bring Citizenship bill or Assam will go to Jinnah’s: BJPs Himanta Sarma

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: January 7, 2019

Pointing at an alleged demographic invasion he said that false propaganda on the citizenship bill is being spread so that people from Bangladesh can reside in India. “This is a fight between Jinnah’s legacy and India’s legacy,” he said.  


Himanta Sarma
 
Guwahati: Assam is tense over the Centre's decision to go forward with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and to make matters worse, the state finance minister and BJP's main strategist for Northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma sparked off a controversy with his statement on Sunday saying that if the bill is not brought in, at least 17 districts in Assam will go the "Jinnah way".
 
He added that the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being done to "drive out the Jinnahs", in an apparent reference to the Muslims of Bengali origin residing in Assam.
 
"This is a fight between the legacy of Jinnah and India. The NRC is a process to weed out the Jinnahs. If we do not implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, then Badruddin Ajmal will become chief minister and if there is no Citizenship Bill, at least 17 seats will go to the Jinnahs," Mr Sarma told reporters on Sunday.
 
Mr Ajmal is an MP from Dhubri and chief of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
 
Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has formed a high-power committee to look into the implementation of the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord that safeguards the socio-political rights and culture of the "indigenous people of Assam".
 
"We have discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding legal immunity for the indigenous people, and we have made recommendations to the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)-constituted committee for the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. PM Modi has said he will think on the proposal of bringing the recommendations of the committee under Article 371. However, the committee has to recommend that it wants to be covered under 371 which provides special provisions for states like Nagaland and Sikkim," Mr Sarma told reporters in Guwahati hinting at a possible move to give 'special status' to Assam ahead of the crucial general elections.
 
The Bill is seen to be violating the 1985 Assam Accord. In simple terms, the accord says that any immigrant who came into the state after the midnight of March 24, 1971, would be identified as a foreigner. Asked about this on Sunday, Sarma said, “Let the Assam Accord be violated, but let us not go to Jinnah. You have to determine between the Assam Accord and Jinnah. Which way will you go?”
 
When a reporter asked if he meant Muslims by “Jinnah”, he replied that he had said “Jinnah” and not named any community.
 
Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats and seven of them are with the BJP. Mr Sarma also hinted at 'reservations' in the assembly, local bodies and even in jobs for Assamese people.
 
"The state government will move the centre to replace the word "Assamese" with "indigenous" in the Clause 6," he added.
 
Pointing at an alleged demographic invasion he said that false propaganda on the citizenship bill is being spread so that people from Bangladesh can reside in India. “This is a fight between Jinnah’s legacy and India’s legacy,” he said.  
 
Among those who have warned the BJP against the Citizenship Amendment Bill is its ally AGP. On January 8, the powerful All Assam Students’ Union and 30 other organisations have called for a state-wide bandh against the legislation.
 
There is no reason for the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to continue its alliance with the BJP, AGP cofounder and former Assam CM Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said after the PM stated that the government will soon place the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament. The AGP and others opposing the bill, which seeks to make it easier for minorities from neighbouring Muslim countries to take Indian citizenship, claim that it will dilute Assam’s identity and is against the Assam Accord. He said that if the bill is passed, his party will explore legal recourses to challenge it.