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AASU says won’t be part committee set up by Centre unless Citizenship Bill is scrapped

Hours after the Centre formed a nine-member committee to implement Clause-6 of the Assam Accord, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) Sunday declined to be a part of it demanding that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill be scrapped first.

Hours after the Centre formed a nine-member committee to implement Clause-6 of the Assam Accord, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) Sunday declined to be a part of it demanding that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill be scrapped first. Reacting sharply to formation of the committee, AASU General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the organisation will not be a part of the Committee as the BJP-led government has formed it just three months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to seek votes in Assam.

“It is just a ploy to exploit the feelings of Assamese people. We already had one tripartite committee between the Centre, state and the AASU. It had couple of meetings and proceeded towards reservation issue. Why suddenly another committee then?” he asked.

The Centre on Saturday set up the high-level Committee to assess the quantum of seats to be reserved in the Assam Assembly and local bodies for the Assamese people, besides providing other safeguards, as per the Clause-6 of the Assam Accord.

“By bringing in the Citizenship Bill, the BJP government wants to violate the Clause 5 of the Accord. The Clause 5 says about detection, deletion and deportation of illegal migrants into Assam. Without enforcing this, how can we talk about Clause 6?” Gogoi said.

The high-level Committee, to be headed by former Union Tourism Secretary M P Bezbaruah, was set up as per the Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord, the Home Ministry said. Earlier, another high-level committee with bureaucrat G K Pillai as the chief was constituted for the Assam Accord implementation when the NDA headed by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power at the Centre, but not much progress was made by it.

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The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

All amendments moved by the opposition in the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal, of the Bill were defeated on December 31, 2018. Addressing an election rally at Silchar on January 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, will be passed as soon as possible in Parliament as a penance for past injustices.

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