Himanta Biswa Sarma’s warning note on Assam Citizenship Bill: Pass legislation or 17 Assembly seats will go to ‘Jinnahs’

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Updated: January 7, 2019 3:37:28 PM

BJP minister in Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has urged the central government to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, at the earliest.

Himanta Biswa SarmaHimanta Biswa Sarma’s warning note on Assam Citizenship Bill: Pass legislation or 17 Assembly seats will go to ‘Jinnahs’

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, will be passed in Parliament soon, senior BJP minister in Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma has urged the central government to get the legislation passed at the earliest. In a note of caution, Biswa said that failure to get the Bill passed in Parliament will result in the state “going to Jinnahs”, an apparent referrence to Muslim refugees.

Sarma told reporters that the Bill aims to strengthen us but “we are surrendering ourselves to the philosophy of Jinnah”.

“People are concerned that we are trying to bring somebody (outsiders), which is false,” he said, adding that this is a fight between the legacy of Jinnah and India.

Sarma said that if the bill which is being opposed by a large section of people is not passed, at least 17 assembly seats will go to the Jinnahs. He said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was meant to drive out the Jinnahs from Assam.

The BJP government at the Centre is set to bring the bill in the Parliament. The bill proposes to make minority (non-Muslim) immigrants from neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. According to those who are opposed to the bill, it violates the 1985 Assam Accord.

When Sarma was asked about the Assam Accord, he said, “Let the Assam Accord be violated, but let us not go to Jinnah. You have to determine between the Assam Accord and Jinnah. Which way will you go?”

The BJP leader said that rumours are being spread about the Bill by opponents. Sarma said that the BJP was trying to save Assam from Jinnahs.

When asked if his reference to Jinnah was directed at the Muslim community, Sarma replied that he had said Jinnah and not named any community.

“We people will lose Sarbhog seat. We will lose many seats… Detection and deportation will be done, but not at the cost of Jinnah. We cannot have detection and deportation to make Badruddin Ajmal the CM of Assam. If something leads us to make Ajmal the chief minister, then we will have to check that policy…,” he said.

“If the Bill is not passed, 17 Assamese seats, which elect Assamese people, will go the Jinnah way… We are trying to save Assam from Jinnah. We are not apologetic… I am against Jinnah,” he added.

Last week, PM Modi had during a rally at Ramnagar said that the government was going ahead with the bill and the matter was linked to the emotion and lives of people.

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