Time to be realistic on safeguards for indigenous people: Bora

GUWAHATI: Asom Gana Parishad president and state minister, Atul Bora categorically maintained that the regional party had always opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, but said it was time to think on realistic lines to achieve what best can be attained from the Centre in regard to Constitutional safeguards for indigenous people.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Bora said that the CAB was always on BJP’s agenda, “but the perspective of AGP in regard to the legislation of 2016 is different, as it would have facilitated influx of foreigners and threatened the linguistic identity of the Assamese people.”

“However, the Centre has for the first time assured Constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people for which a high-level committee on implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord was constituted. So we have to think realistically in this regard and see how much we can bargain from the Centre for such safeguards for our people,” Bora said.

The AGP president pointed out that already Assam has been burdened by lakhs of foreigners between 1951 and 1971. “So, if we can attain Constitutional safeguards for linguistic security of indigenous people, even as the burden may be there (post CAB), we would have attained what we could not over the past 34 years since the Assam Accord was signed,” he said.

Shrugging off the criticism showered by various sections for their “ambiguous” stand on CAB, Bora said, “We are not concerned about the criticism as we are committed (to our regional ideals). We have been through it all, be it the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation since 1979, the Assam Accord in 1985 and thereafter as political leaders.”

The AGP leader also said several amendments to the Citizenship Act have been made since 1955 and that CAB was not new to Parliament.

“Unfortunately, the Assam Accord has only gathered dust over 34 years. But we have always maintained that seats should be reserved for indigenous people in Parliament/Assembly and 100 per cent jobs should be reserved for locals in Grade III and IV categories,” he said.

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