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Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 09:23 AM IST

Protesting Citizenship Bill, AGP threatens to leave BJP

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New Delhi : Even as the BJP looks for opening account in the South if it wins in the counting of votes in Karnataka on Tuesday, its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGM) on Monday threatened to pull down the government in Assam that may have cascading effect on other northeastern states.

The ticklish issue between them is the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016 which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindus from Bangladesh staying in the state. In fact, the Bill is not limited to Assam as it seeks to carry out the BJP’s promised agenda of amending the citizenship law to allow Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians and Jains, who are a minority in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Afghanistan, to become the Indian citizens.

AGP’s senior leader Kamala Kant Kalita has issued an ultimatum that the AGP will sever all ties with the BJP if the Centre pushes for passage of the Bill in Parliament as he said “We as the regional party have to respect the sentiments of the people of Assam.” He stressed on giving respect to the Assam accord which allows citizenship to only those who migrated from Bangladesh before 1971 and no more.

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“It’s the BJP’s responsibility to detect and deport all Bangladeshis who arrived here after 1971, no matter whether they are Hindus or Muslims.”

Kalita made it clear that the AGP won’t allow fragmentation of the state’s language, traditions and culture as opening the floodgates for others who do not even speak Assamese will result in another breakup of the state.

He said AGP President Atul Bora, an agriculture minister in the state government, has already told the BJP leadership that he would resign if the Centre continues to support the contentious Bill.

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Bora has asked BJP President Amit Shah to spell out his party”s stand without further delay.

In a memorandum to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) currently seized of the proposed Bill, the AGP has asserted that the amendments to the Citizenship Act of 1955 “violates the ideals mentioned in the Preamble of India”s Constitution by segregating the citizens into religious sects.”  It asked the JPC to recommend immediate withdrawal of the Bill as the AGP unequivocally believes in secular, socialist and democratic character of our Republic as envisaged in the Preamble and hence believe that all laws of the nation must reflect, both in letter and spirit, these lofty ideals.

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Published on: Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 12:18 AM IST
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