Assam Finance, Health and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Sunday claimed that the AGP has no moral right to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill claiming that due to the AGP and the Assam Accord they signed accepting 1971 as the cut-off year that an estimated 50 lakh Bangladeshis nationals were recognized as Indian citizens, a number he believes that has now swelled to almost a crore.
He blamed the then AASU leadership for accepting the proposal the Indira Gandhi Government made in 1979 six years later, but at the cost of around 900 lives.
“Why I believe the AGP has no right to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is simple. Around 50 lakh Bangladesi nationals who entered Assam illegally between 1951 and 1971 were recognized as Indian citizens after the AASU signed the Assam Accord recognizing March 1971 as the cut-off year. That figure now I believe has risen to around a crore. It was the present-day AGP leadership that rejected Indira Gandhi’s proposal of 1971 as the cut-off year in 1979 only to accept it six years later at the cost of around 900 lives. It was the Prafulla Mahanta-led AGP government that agreed to amend the citizenship bill so as to accommodate the Bangladeshis as Indian citizens,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
He also took pot-shots at the AGP leadership over comments made by several leaders, including Naharkatia MLA Noren Sonowal, who had gone to the extent of advocating an alliance with the Congress.
“The AGP leadership should clarify the recent statements made by several leaders criticizing the BJP. The AGP had decided to contest the panchayat elections alone. We want our alliance with the AGP and the BPF to continue. But the AGP leadership should tell us why several party leaders are commenting against the BJP,” Himanta Biswa said, and added that the AIUDF and the Congress are and will always be the bitterest political rivals of the BJP.
He also questioned as to why reports of several youths joining ULFA(I) have been linked to the imbroglio surrounding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and said that the BJP will do away with the citizenship bill if ULFA(I) chief Paresh Baruah abjures violence and comes to the talks table.