The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ally in Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on November 23rd, 2019 stated that it will continue to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Speaking to media in Guwahati, AGP’s general secretary Satyabrata Kalita said, “Our stand is clear. We will never support a bill which is a threat to the culture, language and identity of the Assamese people.”
He added, “The BJP will definitely discuss the matter with us if it is planning to implement the Bill. We will continue to protest against the Bill in its present form.”
The statement came after former Assam chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta slammed the party’s top brass for maintaining “stoic silence” over the Bill. Mahanta said that the Bill, if implemented, will infringe the rights of the indigenous people of the state.
Protests broke out across Assam as the Centre has listed to reintroduce the Citizenship Bill in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament. The BJP-led central government is pushing for the early passage of the Bill.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the AGP had walked out of its alliance with the BJP in Assam over the Bill in January. However, barely two months later, with the Bill lapsed in the Rajya Sabha, the AGP joined the BJP again and contested the Lok Sabha polls together.
The AGP, while breaking the alliance with the BJP had said that the Citizenship Bill will make the Assam Accord “meaningless”. “We are firm on our stand. We will not allow any immigrants into our territory, irrespective of their religion,” the AGP leaders had earlier said.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the people belonging to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis who have become the victims of religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and entered India on or before December 31st, 2014.