In an interesting turn of events, the protestors who had stripped naked and staged a protest in New Delhi in January against Centre’s move to table the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and shockingly divulged that they were provoked by Congress supporters to do so.
The stir which was against the BJP for “betraying the trust of the indigenous people” to provide citizenship to “Hindu Bangladeshis” was spearheaded by activists, including Assam Scheduled Caste Yuva Parishad leader, Jadav Das and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti’s students’ wing leaders along with many other organisations.
According to the Yuva Parishad leader, Jadav Das, the activists had been provoked to stage the naked protest against the Bill by those who “have openly supported the Congress”.
The beginning of the year was marked by a protest by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and several other organisations of Assam. Carrying placards and raising slogans, about 10 protesters had stripped themselves naked to protest the bill.
Four Rajya Sabha members of the Congress, led by APCC president Ripun Borah, also staged a protest outside the main gate of Parliament against the bill.
Carrying banners and raising slogans, the Congress MPs demanded that the bill should not be brought in Parliament.
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 is against the interests of the people of 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.
PM Modi came down hard on the misinformation on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in a public rally in Amingaon, Assam on February 10th and prior to this had urged support for the Citizenship Amendment Bill to provide persecuted minorities with a dignified life in India.
Apart from these activists, prominent regional party the Assam Gana Parishad had separated from the BJP-led state government during the protests. However, later the party was brought back to the fold as BJP and AGP entered into a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in Assam.