Guwahati, Jan. 9 (PTI): Terming the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by Lok Sabha on Tuesday as a “Black Day” for Assam and the country, former chief minister Tarun Gogoi accused the BJP government of polarising the country on the basis of religion.
“By passing the bill, the BJP government has polarised citizens as Hindus and Muslims and accepted Jinnah’s politics of dividing the country,” the senior Congress leader said.
“The bill has endangered Assam’s culture, heritage, existence for whose preservation Assam’s people have been agitating for long, Assam Accord was signed at the end of the 6-year long Assam Agitation (from 1979), 855 became martyrs during the agitation and even Congress people became victims”, he said.
Gogoi claimed that even in the Assam Accord those illegally entering Assam after midnight March 24, 1971 would be detected as foreigners. Aliens are not to be identified on the basis of religion. Our country is a secular one, it is in our Constitution’s Preamble.
“BJP MPs, MLAs took oath accordingly. By passing the bill on religious ground they have insulted their oath. What is the difference between them and Jinnah who partitioned India on the basis of religion”, he said.
Gogoi, who was a former three-time chief minister of the state claimed that “Assam is burning. BJP wants to destroy Assam and push the future of the youth to darkness”.
He said “this will cause loss to both the North East region and the country. If such unrests continue, Assam will always remain disturbed and troubled”.
The senior Congress leader said “This Bill is a jumla…through it BJP is hoping to get Bengali speaking people’s vote.”
He criticised the Centre’s decision to appoint a high level committee to go into Clause 6 of the Assam Accord as “it is already stated there that Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Gogoi said that Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is “misleading the people” by claiming Assam will go Jinnah’s way if the Citizenship Bill is not passed, and that people are opposing it in a reactionary way with the intellectuals trying to build a wrong narrative.
“Sarma claim suggests that Assamese people are weak and so need Bangladeshis to come in and strengthen them”, he said.
“After passing of the the Citizenship Bill it is better that the NRC (National Register of Citizens) office is closed down here … NRC updation was undertaken as part of the Assam Accord. NRC will now become waste paper and of no value,” Gogoi said.
Criticising Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Gogoi said “After he (Sonowal) clapped when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at Silchar on Friday that the bill will be passed by Parliament, I realised Sonowal is no longer the chief minister of Assam but now a puppet CM of Modi”.
He said “Sarbananda has brought sarbanash (destruction) for Assam. BJP has now become Bangladesh’s party.”
Thanking the All Assam Students Union for carrying on the movement against the bill, he said, “the role of AASU is important…we had signed the Assam Accord with them”.
“This agitation has to continue peacefully and jail bharo movement has to be undertaken to save Assam and its people. The central government is fascist…Narendra Modi, Sarbananda Sonowal and Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary are dangerous and they will destroy Assam,” Gogoi alleged.