Assam: AGP splits with BJP over citizenship bill; Congress welcomes move

Assam: AGP splits with BJP over citizenship bill; Congress welcomes move

The bill would provide an exemption to these groups from an Indian law which prohibits naturalization for illegal immigrants. The bill is likely to come up in the Lok Sabha tomorrow which is the scheduled last day of the winter session of Parliament.

Had the AGP not partnered with the BJP, the saffron party would have not bagged so many seats in the Assembly election and formed a government in the state, he added. The BJP has 61 MLAs and its other regional ally, the Bodoland People's Front, which has assured its continuous support, has 13. "Why are they taking up the matter ahead of the Lok Sabha polls?"

However a senior BJP Minister in that regard said, "We have to follow the court's order and ensure that there is no bandh", It was also mandated that "all shops and business establishments should remain open while government employees must report for their duties or else it will be treated as a contempt of court".

"Today, we burnt copies of the bill and hoisted black flags in different towns and sub-divisions of Assam as a mark of protest".

The bill is unlikely to pass the upper house of parliament, he told Al Jazeera, because the chamber is not controlled by the ruling party. "They have no place to go to, except India", the Home Minister said.

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This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014. TMC's Saugata Roy dubbed the proposed legislation "divisive" and "insidious" that goes against the basic tenets of the Constitution. Asked if the ministers have tendered their resignations, Bora said, "We will do that after reaching Guwahati".

Three, it is seen as the BJP's way push forward its majoritarian, Hindutva agenda as it comes right in the middle of the NRC updating exercise that aims to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Assam. "As this alliance no longer exists now, we demand that the current Assam government be dissolved", Mahanta told reporters.

He also rued that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal refused to meet them when they had sought an appointment to discuss the issue with him as "probably he could not face us". "But, unfortunately, JPC has now taken a "U-turn" by ignoring the public sentiment prevalent in the state", AGP president Atul Bora said.

The entire north-eastern region came to a standstill on Tuesday morning responding to the shutdown call of various students' organizations spearheaded by North East Students' Organization (NESO) against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The bill seeks to amend Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities-Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians-from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don't possess any proper document.

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Earlier on January 7, a section of protestors belonging to the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, an influential peasants' body, and other organisations staged a nude demonstration in New Delhi as the Bill was being tabled in Parliament.

The Congress, TMC, CPI (M) and a few other parties have been steadfastly opposing the bill claiming citizenship can not be given on basis of religion, as India is secular.

"We're trying to save Assam from Jinnah", BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, referring to Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah who was instrumental in carving Muslim-dominated Pakistan out of India after winning independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Accusing the BJP of adopting an anti-Assam policy, Mahanta said, "Let the BJP form a new government alone".

Bora, along with Kesab Mahanta, the AGP working president, and Phani Bhusan Choudhury of the party are ministers in the BJP-led government in Assam.

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