GUWAHATI, February 15: Pressure from political parties as well as intensification of agitations in all states of the North East region forced the Central Government not to go ahead and place the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Rajya Sabha. However, it is apprehended that it would take some time before the feeling of alienation among the people dies down.
Highly placed official sources admitted before The Assam Tribune that the BJP was finding it difficult to gather enough support in the Rajya Sabha to get the Bill passed despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had been claiming that they would get the Bill passed. Even the BJP’s own allies including the Janata Dal (United) and Shiv Sena started opposing the Bill strongly, while the ruling party also failed to gather support from the requisite number of members of the Rajya Sabha.
On the other hand, the intensification of the movement in all the states of the North East might have also contributed to the Government’s decision of not trying to push the Bill forward. Sources admitted that right from the day the Bill was moved the agitations in the region started. The Centre was receiving feedback from the ground from different security agencies. The Government was fully aware of the ground situation and the possible law and order problems. Despite knowing the situation, the Centre tried to push the Bill forward and even got it passed in the Lok Sabha.
Sources pointed out that in the initial stages, the movement against the Bill was mostly restricted to Assam and Meghalaya, but in the last few days, the movement was intensified in all the states of the region and the anger of the common people against the Government grew. The Government was getting the detailed reports of the ground situation from all the states from different agencies and that may have also forced the Government to rethink.
Sources said that though the movement in Manipur and Mizoram started late than in Assam, the situation turned worse very quickly. Manipur witnessed large scale violence, while the agitation in all the other states also intensified. Sources pointed out that though Arunachal Pradesh is somewhat protected by the Inner Line Permit system, the state is grappling with the issue of Chakma refugees for quite some time, while, Mizoram also faced the same issue. That is why, the indigenous people of these two states were very apprehensive of the Bill. On the other hand, people of Manipur were apprehensive that foreigners could enter the state through the Barak Valley of Assam and that is one of the reasons why the people reacted strongly against the Bill.
Sources admitted that the situation in the North East is always delicate and the Bill created a sense of alienation among the people. Though it may take some time to remove the sense of alienation, there is no apprehension of any major law and order problem after the Government failed to get the Bill passed, sources said. (Courtesy: AT)