By Our Correspondent
Guwahati, Jan. 12
Expressing grave concern over the turbulent situation in Assam’s Brahmaputra valley along with some parts of Northeast India, Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) yesterday urged the government to reassure local people that the region would not be adversely affected by the citizenship law amendment initiatives undertaken by the Union government in New Delhi.
At the same time, the forum of nationalists called upon the Centre to review the cut-off year for identification of illegal migrants in Assam from 1971 (25th of March) to 1951. A nation cannot have two separate cut-off years — with one cut-off year meant specifically for one State, viz. Assam) — to detect illegal foreigners in the country.
“If the all-India cut-off year identifies a huge number of illegal Bangladeshi (also East Pakistani) citizens taking shelter in Assam, the government must consider on a specific arrangement to deport them to their country of origin. Otherwise the government should actively think about offering work permits (without voting rights) to those nationals,” said a PPFA statement issued to the media. Challenging the 1971 cut-off year, at least one Assam-based organization (Asom Sanmilita Mahasangha) has approached the Supreme Court and the case is still pending. Few other organizations including Prabajan Virodhi Mancha and some political leaders have also raised voices against the 1971 cut-off year, agreed to in the Assam Accord, which was signed by agitating groups spearheading the historic Assam
Movement (1979 to 1985).
“We want the apex court to settle the matter so that the issue can be resolved for good. Otherwise, we will not mind if the cut-off year to detect illegal migrants in the entire country is amended to 25 March, 1971,” said the PPFA statement, adding that such a move would reassure the people of Assam that as the world’s largest democracy, India does not differentiate between her own people by having two cut-off dates for determining citizenship.
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