Lok Sabha okays plan to tweak citizenship law

Assam Police personnel remove black flags from Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti activists protesting with 69 other indigenous organisations of Assam during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. — AFP

AAPSU members burnt copies of the citizenship amendment bill on the streets of Itanagar and Naharlagun, and shops and institutes remained closed till 4 pm.

Minus the 14 AGP legislators, the Sonowal government would be left with 73 MLAs, nine more than the majority mark of 64 in the 126-member Assembly. "Assam alone would not have to bear the entire burden and the government is committed to providing all help to the state government and people of Assam", he said.

The decision to snap the ties followed an AGP delegation's meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi during which he asserted that the government will ensure the passage of the Citizenship Bill in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

An investigation has been initiated into the bomb attack on the BJP office, said Davis N.R. Marak, superintendent of police of East Khasi Hills district.

"It was not only the Muslim League that wanted to have Assam in that plan, but the same demand was also raised from inside the state at that point of time", said Sarma.

In the Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said leaders like former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Manmohan Singh have backed such a provision in the past.

India wants to give citizenship to immigrants belonging to religious minorities persecuted in neighboring Muslim countries, including Pakistan, because they have nowhere go except India, the interior minister said on Tuesday.

The Bill seeks to enable Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh without valid travel documents or those whose valid documents expired in recent years to acquire Indian citizenship through the process of naturalization. Mizoram and Meghalaya governments have also opposed the bill by adopting a resolution against it in their respective cabinet meetings.




The AGP had earlier expressed reservations with the Bill saying it would make the Assam Accord meaningless.

Soon after the Bill was moved, leader of Congress in the House Mallikarjun Kharge said that his party has several reservations on the Bill.

BJP Spokesperson Rupam Goswami said, "We have not got any information officially".

The TDP and Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party quit the BJP-led NDA in the last one year during which the saffron party also parted ways with the PDP-headed coalition in Jammu and Kashmir.

Zubeen also writes in his letter that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the Joint Parliamentary Committee and Sonowal have all "fooled the people of Assam." he further urged the government to rethink the bill.

The chief minister had assured us that the Centre will not go against the interest of the Assamese people but it is "unfortunate that he did not do enough to stall the bill", the AGP president said.

Two tribal parties - Indigenous People's Front of Tripura and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura strongly opposing the Citizenship Bill - are yet to confirm the identity of the injured youths. BJP allies Shiv Sena and JD-U have announced that they would oppose the bill in Parliament.

Roy and other members of the Trinamool Congress then staged a walkout.

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