UWAHATI, JANUARY 22: With the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 gaining momentum, the Centre is planning to hold talks with the agitating organizations with an attempt to defuse the situation. However, the dates for such meetings are yet to be finalized.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the Centre is concerned over the agitations in Assam against the Bill and is keeping a close watch on the situation. As the agitations are continuing, the Centre is planning to hold talks with the agitating organizations as it is believed that “the issues can be resolved through dialogue.”
Sources said that the Union Home Minister is planning to hold talks with the leaders of the agitating organizations to know their concerns about the Bill. “The Government is keen on knowing the concerns of the agitating organizations in detail so that the issues can be resolved through dialogues,” sources added. Sources further said that the Home Minister would also try to spell out the Government’s policies clearly so that the misgivings in the minds of the people can be resolved. The Minister is also likely to spell out in detail the conditions that a person would have to fulfill to get citizenship under the provisions of the Bill.
It may be mentioned here that the Union Home Minister spoke to All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya over phone on January 18 on the issue. But the AASU leader categorically told the Minister that the students’ body would not accept the Bill. He also told the Minister that the AASU would never allow dilution of the Assam Accord, as per which, all the foreigners who entered Assam illegally after the midnight of March 24, 1971 should be detected and deported.
MHA sources said that AASU is likely to be the first organization to be called for discussion as the students’ body was a signatory to the Assam Accord. However, as the AASU has joined hands with the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) and 30 organizations representing ethnic groups of the State, it would take the decision on possible talks with the Government only after discussion with those organizations. Sources said that the Government may also call other agitating organizations for talks to discuss their concerns on the Bill.
Though the Government has decided to provide incentives to people belonging to minority communities in Bangladesh, who entered Assam to settle elsewhere in the country, sources admitted that some such persons may not be too keen on shifting to other places after staying in one place for a long time.
Meanwhile, the Centre, despite strong protests in Assam, has not yet changed its stand on the Bill and efforts would be made to get it passed in the ensuing session of the Rajya Sabha. The Bill has already been passed in the Lok Sabha in its winter session amidst walk out by the members of the Congress and Trinamool Congress, who are opposing the Bill.(Courtesy: AT)