GUWAHATI, JULY 1: There is no difference of attitude in former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and incumbent Narendra Modi towards the Northeast over the issue of foreign nationals as both tried to impose foreigners in the region, alleged Samujjal Bhattacharya, chief adviser of the All Assam Students’ Union. Meanwhile, after the success of the mass satyagraha in Guwahati on Friday, the AASU and 28 organisations representing ethnic groups of the State have decided to continue the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 till it is withdrawn. Talking to The Assam Tribune, Bhattacharya pointed out that way back in 1949, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru tried to give shelter to a huge number of refugees in Assam. But fortunately for the State, the then Chief Minister Gopinath Bardoloi strongly opposed the move of the Centre by going against the leaders of his own party, he said. “Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to impose foreigners in the State through the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal should strongly oppose the move,” he added.
Bhattacharya pointed out that the Governments of Meghalaya and Mizoram have opposed the Bill, while the Nagaland Government has also voiced its opinion against the controversial Bill. Unfortunately, the Government of Assam is yet to take a strong stand on the issue till date to protect the interests of the indigenous people, he added.
Bhattacharya said that all sections of the people in the State have come out to oppose the Bill and participated in the mass satyagraha on Friday, even as people all over the State are agitating for months. The Government of India should not test the patience of the people of Assam and the Bill should be withdrawn immediately, he said.
The recently released census data, in which it was shown that the number of Assamese-speaking people came down drastically, created apprehensions in the minds of indigenous people and the government should not only withdraw the controversial Bill, but it should also deal with the problem of infiltration of foreigners by implementing the Assam Accord and sealing the international border, he said. The Government should also provide constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people within a specific time frame and sign a bilateral treaty with Bangladesh to ensure deportation of Bangladeshi nationals from the State, he said.
The AASU chief adviser said that along with the movement, efforts to gain political support against the Bill would continue. The AASU already met leaders of 11 national and regional political parties, and efforts to meet other senior leaders of political parties to request them to oppose the Bill in the Parliament will continue. “We are requesting the political leaders to save Assam today to save the country tomorrow,” he added.