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The Citizenship (amendment) Bill creates furore in Assam
The Citizenship (amendment) Bill, which aims at to grant citizenship to foreign citizens who came to India till 2014 facing religious persecutions in their respective native lands like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, has been creating furore in Assam after the public hearing of the Joint Parliamentary committee at New Delhi on April 17.

Taking part in the hearing, three office-bearers of the Satra Mahasabha, apex body of the Vaishnavite monasteries in Assam, reportedly, supported the Bill apart from two Bengali organisations from the state. Once the news spread wide-spread condemnation grew in the state against the Mahasabha leading the latter to expel its two office-bearers who, allegedly, had supported the Bill with submitting a memorandum to the Joint Parliamentary committee.

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU), Krishak Sangram Mukti Samiti (KMSS) and Asam Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra  Parishad along with some other indigenous people organisations have strongly opposed the Bill arguing that through amending the Citizenship Act the BJP-led NDA government  has been trying to dump lakh of illegal Hindu Bangladeshis in Assam. The Asom Gana Parishad , an ally of the BJP in Assam, too, opposes the Bill.

The organisations both political and non-political, which stand against the Bill, are of the opinion that the demography of the state would see a sea change once the Bill gets passed in Parliament. However, a few organisations including Patriotic People's Forum of Assam (PPFA) have demanded a public debate regarding the Bill. These organisations are of the view that the Centre aims at not only granting citizenship to the Bangla speaking Hindu people but also to Sikh, Hazong, Buddhist and Christian minority people who came to India facing religious persecutions in their respective native lands. The Joint Parliamentary Committee invited 16 organisations for taking part in its April 17 hearing excluding the KMSS, which has been more vocal against the Bill. That has angered the outfit. The KMSS staged protest across the state against the JPC on the day of its hearing.

The controversy regarding the Citizenship (amendment) Bill, 2016 has risen in Assam at a time when the NRC updating work reaches a crucial state. As per the direction of the Supreme Court of India, the NRC directorate of the state would have to complete the draft before June 30. However, another case has been filed with the apex court regarding the base year of the NRC updating in the state.

According to the Assam Accord of 1985 the base year of the foreigner identification is 1971 in the state unlike the entire country. Opposing that one Matiur Rahman on behalf of an organisation has lodged a petition in the SC recently espousing that the base year of the foreigner identification in the state should be 1971.

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