AGP opposes Citizenship Bill; says will destroy secularism of Assam

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Assam BJP government’s regional ally AGP on Monday demanded for withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduced by the Narendra Modi government and said it would destroy the age-old secular character of Assamese society.

An AGP led delegation on Monday met the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Bill to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

AGP president and agriculture minister Atul Bora said, “The AGP is a secular party and the people of Assam strongly believe in secularism. If the bill is passed, secularism will be severely affected and the age-old unity among communities disturbed. Assamese people will be linguistic minority and our culture will be destroyed”.

Former CM of Assam and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said in his memorandum to JPC“It violates the main clause of the Assam Accord. While we are pressing for constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people, the proposed amendment has posed a threat to the language, culture, heritage and economy of Assam”.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to make Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, and Christians eligible for Indian citizenship, who left for Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to escape religious persecution.

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