Guwahati: Prominent citizens and academicians on Thursday protested against the Centre's move to grant citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshi immigrants, saying it would jeopardise peace and progress in Assam and the entire Northeast.
Scholars like Hiren Gohain, Udayaditya Bharali, Apurba Barua, Dinesh Baishya, Manorama Sharma, Manjit Mahanta, Akhil Ranjan Dutta and Kiran Gogoi "expressed a sense of shock and anguish at the proposed 2016 amendment of the Citizenship Act 1955" through a joint release.
The Amendment Bill is currently under consideration of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament.
"March 24, 1971 has been accepted after a tumultuous period of resistance and opposition by all communities residing in Assam as the cut-off date for determination of citizenship. This, it may be emphasized, is irrespective of linguistic and religious affiliation," the release pointed out.
The eminent persons said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was being presently updated in Assam following a stringent directive from the Supreme Court.
"Any step that puts any obstacles to the updating of the NRC by way of doubt, confusion or uncertainty is most likely to reintroduce the serious instability, communal ill will and conflict that had plagued Assam for three decades and jeopardise peace and progress of this region," the eminent citizens said.
They stressed that the updating of the NRC must be top priority and carried out in a spirit of utmost urgency so that a basis for permanent peace may be established in this region.
The statement also criticised the ruling BJP's ally Asom Gana Parishad over its silence on the issue.
"It is no secret that the Assam Accord that determined March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for determination of citizenship for the troubled state of Assam was the very basis for formation of AGP as a political party," the release said....