Ahead of the assembly polls in Assam, the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is being vehemently protested by the state’s opposition and students unions. CAB was proposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government in 2019 albeit delayed as a result of nationwide protests. The contended bill permitted non-Muslim nationals from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to become Indian nationals in order to avoid persecution in their home countries.
Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass on March 21 said that the party will soon implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state. At the same time, the Indian National Congress party has promised to bring in a law to nullify CAA. Dipankar Kumar Nath, President of the influential All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU), is leading a six-year Assam Movement against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh but is against CAA.
CAA, which gives citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who entered India before 31 December 2014, goes against the provision enshrined in the Assam Accord, believes the student union.
The Assam accord was signed in 1985 between the representatives of the AASU, the Assam state government and the government of India. It reads: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.” The accord also prescribes the detection and deportation of all immigrants, irrespective of faith, who entered Assam after the midnight of 24 March 1971.
Assembly elections will commence from 27 March. It will be held for 126 seats in Assam and are to be carried out in three phases. Vote counting will take place on 2 May 2021. Following last year’s violence in response to the bill, the BJP, which is governing the state, stated that the law will be implemented in such a way that it protects local’s interests. This was done ease tension amongst the locals,
Congress veteran and former federal home minister P. Chidambaram slammed BJP and retorted, claiming that, “CAA will divide the nation.” In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said that “CAA intends to intimidate and put fear in the minds of millions of poor and law-abiding citizens, especially Muslims, and threaten them with incarceration in detention camps.”
Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), Raijor Dal (RD), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF founded by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal) , Anchalik Gana Morcha, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti are the other major forces against the CAA.