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GUWAHATI: Opposition Congress in Assam has hit out at the BJP government saying that the “Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) it is hell-bent on bringing, embraces only the persecuted religious minorities from three countries – Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan – but ignores refugees from Sri Lanka from Myanmar currently sheltered in the country.”
Speaking to reporters here on Saturday, Opposition leader in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia alleged that the BJP “is conspiring to utilise a particular section of people as vote bank for which it is intent on bring in an anti-Constitutional and anti-secular legislation.”
“We oppose CAB because it violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which says that the secular fabric of the country cannot be disturbed and that all religions, languages and communities are equal before law. Moreover, while the contentious legislation embraces persecuted religious minorities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has no provision for the over-60,000 refugees from Sri Lanka currently sheltered across 109 camps in Tamil Nadu or the over 500 refugees from Myanmar who are in the country.” Saikia said.
On the National Register of Citizens, the Congress leader said it was unfortunate that the government wanted to redo the NRC exercise even as the the Supreme Court-monitored exercise was done in accordance with a tripartite agreement in 2005 and on the basis of the cut-off year as mentioned in the Assam Accord of 1985.
“We demand that the NRC should be on the basis of the Assam Accord and oppose any move to bring in a fresh NRC taking a pan-India cut-off date,” he said.