Assam Congress divided, seeks referendum over bill

Students protest in front of Cotton University in Guwahati on Thursday

However, supporters of Citizenship Bill in Barak Valley opine that the Accord does not do justice to the many people persecuted during the Bangladesh liberation war.

"If I can not protect the people's interests, there is no point to my staying on as chief minister", Sonowal said at an informal interaction with editors and senior journalists of the state here to seek opinion on what should be done to address the continuing discontent against the NDA government's proposal to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955. We appeal to people to keep faith in the government... "This is certain", Sonowal said.

"It is my duty as the chief minister to take all with me and not take decisions on my own".

Most of the NGOs in Meghalaya have vehemently opposed the proposed of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, before the visiting Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) here in the city on Thursday.

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was following the democratic norms despite having a majority in the Lok Sabha.

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Assam shares a border with Bangladesh. "We will organise the signature campaign across Assam till May 30", Asom Gana Parishad President Atul Bora said.

Notably, NRC adopted 1971 as base year for identification of illegal migrants.

Sonowal said there was an allegation against him that he was not allowing the JPC team to visit Assam.

"We want a correct NRC, which is being updated under the directives of the Supreme Court, to protect the identity of the Assamese people", he said. The bill violates the basic structure of the Constitution and Centre's move to amend the Citizenship Bill is only appeased the Hindu voters from Bangladesh and other neighboring countries.

The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal ) (IMDT) Act was enacted in 1983 to detect and deport illegal foreigners from Assam.

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The JPC's three-day hearing in Assam since Monday saw the State being divided on the issue.

While the hearing was in progress, Khasi Students Union activists staged a lightning protest in the premises of the venue, and raised banners and placards to register their protest against the bill.

Speaking to media persons after meeting the Committee North East Students' Organisation (NESO) Chairman Samuel Jyrwa asserted that the organization strongly opposed the Bill which, if passed, would drastically affect the indigenous population of the North East region. While nearly all organisations and non-BJP political parties in Assamese-speaking Brahmaputra Valley opposed the bill, the Bengali-speaking Barak Valley supported it.

Without taking names, he pilloried some intellectuals with Left lineage saying those who had been critical of the anti-foreigners' agitation of early 1980s are now leading the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

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