Senior Advocate Upamanyu Hazarika Highlights Politcs Over CAA
Senior Advocate Upamanyu Hazarika Highlights Politcs Over CAA

Senior Advocate Upamanyu Hazarika Highlights Politics Over CAA

He said that the protection of indigenous identity, a central theme in earlier elections is absent this time.

Senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika on Monday criticised the Centre and the state government over the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and highlighted the politics being played over the issue to secure a significant vote bank.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati today, the senior advocate said, "The riveting challenge to Bangladeshis to pack their bags and be ready to leave Assam by then Prime Ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, defined and shaped the political discourse for that and subsequent elections. The failure of NRC, promulgation of CAA, in this election now sees a reverse trend with all parties competing for the migrant Muslim vote in Assam. If Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, solicits support of the migrant Muslim votes, advises them to ‘indigenise’ themselves by adopting local customs and habits. The other opposition parties remind the migrant Muslims about the abuses heaped on them by Shri Sarma earlier and that their primary enemy is the BJP. On the other hand, by promulgating CAA, the Bangladeshi Hindu vote is being attracted to."

He said that the protection of indigenous identity, a central theme in earlier elections is absent this time. Despite the public acknowledgment by the BJP that NRC has included a large number of foreigners, no steps have been taken for re-verification of NRC and exclude the estimated 60 lakhs who’ve been included, said Hazarika.

"Re-verification of NRC is particularly important as the indigenous population in Assam is projected to be a minority by 2040. Even though large-scale anomalies and fraud were evident throughout the NRC process, however, the obsession with CAA, lead to such fraud being overlooked and enabled a majority of the foreigners to find their way into the NRC. Even though the previous NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma filed a detailed report in the Supreme Court, demonstrating subversion of NRC with specific data, this has been ignored," Upamanyu Hazarika said.

"On one hand, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal says that CAA will not harm the indigenous, on the other Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says that around 5 lakh people will be benefited under CAA. It is over a 100 indigenous communities who co exist in Assam and the Mising one the larger tribes, numbers around 5 lacs, which means through CAA a population the size of the Mising tribe is being included in Assam," he added.

The senior advocate further said, "The antidote to the large number of foreigners in Assam, which includes lacs legitimised as citizens until 25 March 1971 by the Assam Accord,, those by birth in Assam, those included in the NRC and now lastly through CAA are the protective safeguards recommended by the Committee under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of February 2020, recommending reservation in land , employment, trade etc for those who are included in the 1951 NRC or their descendants."

"This recommendation was also made by me as a Supreme Court Commissioner in 2015. But all political parties, including the ruling party which set up this Committee, have consigned this report to the dustbin. In fact, now the Chief Minister advises the migrant Muslims on ways to become indigenous!" he mentioned.

Stating that today even though leaders of all political parties barring the AIUDF are of indigenous origin and indigenous are still in a majority, but the competition is far the migrant vote, he said, "Unlike other North Eastern states where communities and political leaders fiercely guard the indigenous identity, the moral degeneration amongst the political leadership in Assam has lead to this dire situation, since the Assam movement all leaders have conveniently used the cause for political advancement, only to consistently betray. This is because most of these leaders have used the foreigners issue/indigenous identity, to make a living out of it."

However, he said, "Today the BJP government in Assam has a majority of ex-Congress leaders, reputed not only for their corruption but also for their pro-Bangladeshi stance and when self-enrichment and advancement are the priority, then fundamental issues of indigenous survival cease to matter."

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