Bhartiya Janta Party’s Bihar ally Janta Dal United has decided to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that is yet to be passed in the Rajya Sabha. JD(U) had also abstained from voting in the Lok Sabha when the bill was tabled.
According to reports, JD(U)’s national vice president Prashant Kishor, its national secretary general KC Tyagi and national secretary Sanjay Verma will attend the protests to be staged by BJP’s former ally Assam Gana Parishad on the occasion of the Republic day in Guwahati.
“Different outfits opposing the Bill will hold a joint rally in Guwahati on January 27, while the AGP’s rally is scheduled to be held in Guwahati on January 28. We will join in both the rallies and extend the JD(U)’s support to all those organisations who are opposing the Bill,” JD(U)’s national secretary Sanjay Verma was quoted by Times of India.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on 8th January, seeks an amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, to provide citizenship to the persecuted minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Jains, and Christians) from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
The bill was met with severe opposition from Assam and other political parties of North-east. It was alleged that the bill will pave way for demography change in the states like Assam, as it will allow non-muslims from bordering countries to settle there. They have alleged that bill is in violation of the 1985 Assam Accords.
Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal has stated that groups with vested interests are spreading misinformation about the bill and it will in no way bring an influx of immigrants into Assam, contrary to what is being spread among the people. Instead, he added, the bill will be a check gate for a demographic shift in the state. He added that there are stringent criteria involved to apply for citizenship in the bill and his government is dedicated to preserving the interests of indigenous communities in the state.
The Bill has united parties which have traditionally been arch enemies. The CPI(M) has been supported in its opposition to the Bill by Mamata Banerjee’s TMC. Members from the TMC and CPI(M), along with Congress and Samajwadi party, had also moved dissent notes to the JPC report on the Bill.
JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi has cited “Assamese Asmita” as its reason to stage protests against the bill. The resolution was passed at CM Nitish Kumar’s residence. Party has decided to hold a meeting of its national executive in the last week of February.