Anti-influx forum calls for indigenous people protection

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Anti-influx forum, Prabajan Virodhi Manch, has appealed to the masses engaged in the ongoing movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to channelise the agitation towards achieving the goal of protecting the indigenous people of Assam.
Towards this end, the Manch advocated the need for the masses to put pressure on the elected legislators of the respective constituencies to introduce a proposal in the state Assembly that CAA should not be made applicable to Assam.
Addressing reporters here on Saturday, Manch convener Upamanyu Hazarika said that people have not set any defined agenda to the leaders over the past 40 years to act and implement, and hence, movements and protests have not yielded any results.
Hazarika emphasised the need for local MLAs in Assam to enable enactment of a legislation in the Assembly for reserving resources for the indigenous people.
“The other North East states have legal regimes in place which reserve resources for the indigenous people. A similar legislation in Assam reserving land, employment, trade licences, etc., only for those who were citizens in 1951or prior thereto or their progeny, can take the state out of the ambit of CAA as newly granted citizens will not be able to avail of such rights over resources,” he said.
He further cautioned that the National Register of Citizens (NRC), in its present form, would ensure that the indigenous became a minority before 2040.
“Therefore, 100 per cent re-verification of NRC is the need of the hour and the power to do so under the Citizenship Act 1951 vests in the Registrar General of India,” Hazarika, who is also a Supreme Court lawyer, said.
On the issue of the cut-off year, the Manch appealed to the leadership and parties and organisations such as AASU to file affidavits in the Supreme Court to ‘rectify’ their stand of favouring 1971 as the cut-off year and instead support 1951 as the cut-off year for citizenship.
“The central and state governments also need to reverse their stand on supporting citizenship by birth to all children born of foreigners until December 3, 2004 and support the stand of the petitioner in the petition pending before Constitution bench in the Supreme Court,” he said.
The Manch convener further said all encroachers should be immediately evicted from forest, grazing reserves and government land.
“It is about time every indigenous person/organisation takes up these issues with their elected representatives and put pressure on them to act and implement,” Hazarika said.

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