BJP spokespersons claimed at a press conference that the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will not bring in any new foreigner into India
Shillong: BJP made tall promises to the north-east in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the 2016 assembly election when it came to illegal immigration. The border infiltration rhetoric helped them gain never before seen power in the north-east. As the Citizenship Amendment Bill has come to the fore, BJP has reneged on their word. The ruling BJP Thursday claimed no Bangladeshi national has illegally entered India in the last 10 years.
BJP spokespersons claimed at a press conference that the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will not bring in any new foreigner into India.
"No infiltration is happening at this moment. Illegal migration happened only earlier. We can say that in the last 10 years, no infiltration took place from Bangladesh," state BJP spokesperson Swapnanil Barua said.
“Bangladeshis are not migrating to India because of economic reasons as they now go to Europe, Gulf or other developed regions. In Europe or Gulf, they get a minimum wage of around Rs. 3,000 per day. In India, they can earn a maximum of Rs. 1,000. So, why should they come here,” he asked.
Another spokesperson Mominul Awal said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill if passed, will not bring any new Hindu Bangladeshi into India.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed by Lok Sabha two days ago, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims, who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
Meghalaya assembly Speaker and UDP chief Donkupar Roy accused BJP of “encouraging migration” from Bangladesh to the north-east and said that the proposed law should not be allowed to be implemented.
Protection of indigenous population was a recurring theme among north-eastern parties and many allies seem to be walking out of the NDA coalition.
The Asom Gana Parishad has pulled out of the alliance with the BJP. Other regional allies of the BJP are unhappy with the Bill and could take a call with the Lok Sabha elections drawing near. But regional parties in the Northeast are usually dependent on the party or coalition in power at the Centre, and their decision may depend on the trend post-elections.
Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday termed the passage of the citizenship bill in the Lok Sabha a “black day” for Assam and the country, accusing the BJP government of polarising the country on the basis of religion.
“The bill has endangered Assam’s culture, heritage (and) existence, for whose preservation Assam’s people have been agitating for long. The Assam Accord was signed at the end of the six-year-long Assam agitation (from 1979), 855 (people) became martyrs during the agitation and even (the) Congress people became victims”, he said.
“Assam is burning. The BJP wants to destroy Assam and push the future of the youth to darkness…. This will cause loss to both the Northeast and the country. If such unrest continues, Assam will always remain disturbed and troubled,” he added.
Illegal immigration has been a burning issue in Assam since independence. Unabated infiltration led to a six-year-long agitation from 1979 to 1985 and ended in the signing of the Assam Accord. The Accord clearly stated that any foreigner who entered the state after 24 March 1971 would be deported.
While successive governments failed to solve the problem of illegal immigration, the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was taken up to solve the problem of illegal immigrants by incorporating citizens in the register. This massive process of updating the NRC is being undertaken under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
The people of Assam say the proposed bill will subvert NRC and render the entire exercise futile. This bill will clearly bypass the Assam Accord, which earmarked the cut-off date of 24 March 1971—which is also the cut-off date of NRC—as it will allow people who have entered the country until 31 December 2014 to eventually be incorporated.