Guwahati, April 12 (IANS) The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Thursday said that it will continue to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and not compromise on the issue.
AGP President and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said the bill was aimed at granting citizenship to those who came to Assam due to persecution in neighbouring countries.
“We are not going to compromise on the issue of citizenship. Our stand is firm that under no circumstance are we going to accept Bangladeshi citizens, who had entered Assam after March 24, 1971,” said Bora, adding that his party had informed the central government of its stand.
“The proposed bill is not constitutional. According to the Assam accord signed after six-year-long anti-foreigners movement (1979-1985), the cut-off date for the detection and deportation of foreigners is March 25, 1971, irrespective of the religious affiliation of any individual,” he said.
The AGP and Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) are partners in the BJP-led alliance government in Assam. Both the AGP and BPF have two members in the Assam cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Although the AGP and BJP contested the 2016 Assam elections as partners, the regional party is going to contest the coming panchayat polls alone. The poll dates are yet to be announced as the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has not yet been completed.
Asked about the party’s alliance with the BJP for the next year’s Lok Sabha polls, the AGP leader said that his party is part of the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre and in Assam. “We have not thought about the Lok Sabha polls yet but we are not going to join any Third Front,” he said.