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Assam’s Future & Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 Rumours vs Reality

10 Jan,2020 02:09 PM, by: Super Admin
4 minute read Total views: 414
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India’s 2014 general elections heralded the onset of the Narendra Modi led BJP government, following which, on July 15, 2016, a proposal for an amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955 was placed before the Parliament Assembly.

This proposed amendment’s emphasis is the grant of ‘Citizenship through Naturalization’ to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis & Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan & Pakistan who’ve been residing in India (without valid documents) because of religious persecution or a threat of religious persecution. The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country for obtaining citizenship by naturalization to 6 years.

The BJP’s arrival in Assam under the leadership of Sarbananda Sonowal was received favourably because of the speedy execution of the NRC issue, yet, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 followed by the JPC visit elevated public ire against the government regarding the issue of illegal migrants, giving rise to much confusion amongst the people.

This confusion has brewed because of the spread of rumours and false news, while the truth of the matter is something else altogether. Here’s a glimpse ….

  1. Myth: Through this Amendment an attempt is being made to bring ‘Hindu Bangladeshis’ to India

    Fact: There is no mention of a word such as ‘Hindu Bangladeshi’ anywhere in the Amendment. Thus, circulation of  news about bringing Hindus from Bangladesh is absolutely untrue and is nothing but a political propaganda being run by a select few. Also, it’s to be noted that the Constitution specifically mentions 31 December, 2014 as the time frame.

  2. Myth: More than 1.5 crore Hindus from Bangladesh will come to Assam

    Fact: As per population census 2011, the whole of Bangladesh itself doesn’t have 1. 5 crore Hindus! So, from where will they come? Thus, if the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2016 gets passed and even if any Hindu person from Bangladesh comes to Assam in the future, they won’t be given citizenship.

  3. Myth: Assam is on the verge of becoming a second Tripura

    Fact: Assam is presently on the path of transforming into another Kashmir. Assam’s current percentage of Muslim population is 34% and is estimated to reach 40% in the next population census. From 25 March, 1971 to 31 December, 2014 the number of Hindus who arrived in Assam are estimated to be around 2 lakh. There has never been any communal threat to the social fabric of Assam because of the presence of these 2 lakh Hindus. Such vindictive stories find circulation because of political conspiracies. People shouldn’t forget that organizations such as AAMSU & UMF were born out of protests against the Assam Agitation movement’s cause and with the immediate rejection of the IMDT (Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983) a political group like AIUDF was formed. All three organizations are embroiled in a conspiracy to turn Assam into another Pakistan. Their aim was to establish a Bangladeshi Muslim as the state CM in the 2016 elections. Having failed to do so, they are now engrossed in framing new conspiracies.

    In the face of such existing realities, it’s highly necessary for the people to think logically about matters.

  4. Myth: If the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 gets passed then it will become a dire threat to the Assamese language

    Fact: It’s notable that as per 2011 population census, the number of Hindus in Barpeta has declined while the number of Bangladeshis have increased, which implies an increase in the number of Bengali speaking Muslims. After 1971 the number of Bengali medium schools and English medium schools in the Brahmaputra Valley vis-a-vis the number of madrassas is something we need to think about. Are we paying heed to the rapidly growing number of Madrassas in Assam? Won’t this proliferation of Madrassas pose a threat to the Assamese language someday?

  5. Myth: Those who are protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2016 are the ones who wish to rescue Assam

    Fact: Those who are protesting against the Bill are not the ones who will rescue Assam rather they are the ones who will pull Assam into some vicious conspiracy. These people had protested against the eviction of illegal land settlers in Kaziranga National Park on one side and on the other side had also gone ahead and held meetings with Muslim political activist Madani in Delhi, probably to formulate strategies for disrupting Assam. Some of them had also demanded that Rohingya Muslims should be allowed entry on humanitarian grounds. Are these the ones who will save Assam? These people with the support of several media groups have misled organizations and have created an environment of agitation amongst the masses. These leftist circle of anti regional mentality people are actually enabling the proliferation of a vicious environment in the state.

  6. Myth: If this Amendment gets passed, Assam will be destroyed

    Fact: If the Amendment gets passed then, whether it’s the Rohingyas or some other immigrant, nobody will be able to demand for citizenship in future. However, if the Amendment doesn’t get passed then as per the Citizenship Act, 1955, Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh after having resided for 11 years will continue to get citizenship, and there also remains the scope for demands of retaining Rohingya Muslims in India.

    This is the actual reason why people with an anti-regional sentiment are provoking the larger Assamese population.

  7. Myth: This Amendment will threaten the identity of the indigenous people of Assam

    Fact: Think about this:

    Who were the ones responsible for inflicting violence on indigenous people in the BTAD region? Who was responsible for grabbing land from the Satras? Indigenous people from Dhubri, Barpeta, Goalpara, Darrang etc were forced to run from their homes out of fear of which community? 27 Vidhan Sabha constituencies including Dhubri, Lahorighat, Baghbor, Jamunamukh, Joniya etc are at present being occupied by Bangladeshi Muslims!

    After all these, will the identity of Assam’s indigenous people be safeguarded when constituencies like Lumding, Hojai, Raha, Jagiroad, Barpeta, East Bilasipara, Sarbhog, Mangaldai, Nagon etc continue to be reduced to Hindu minority regions and left to be claimed by  the Bangladeshi Muslims?

    So, dear citizens of Assam, at a time when Bangladeshi Muslims are strengthening their presence across Assam and making increasing efforts to establish their religious and cultural identity in the state, rather than making a commotion over a handful of Hindu Bengalis and ignoring a deeper burning issue, is actually an indication of some deep conspiracy.

    Such activities are attempts by miscreants who wish to divert people from significant issues like the NRC update process. These are nothing but baseless actions intending to create social friction and disrupt the flow of progress in Assam. It is thereby an urgent call of request to all people of Assam to avoid entertaining such rumours and to avoid being swayed by everything they hear.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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