Assam Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury on November 25th, 02019 said that the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will continue to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“Our stand is firm and clear from day one. The Union Home Ministry to call us for a meeting before implementing the Bill in Assam,” said Choudhury.
The statement comes after former Assam chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta slammed the party’s top brass for maintaining “stoic silence” over the Bill. He had also said that his party members ‘cornered’ him for speaking against the Bill.
“We have previously broken the alliance (with BJP) and gave our ministership. We shouldn’t be judged. Mahanta can share his opinion on the Bill. He has neither been expelled not cornered,” he added. The AGP had earlier rejected the Bill as a violation of the Assam Accord and anti-indigenous.
In January 2019, the AGP had walked out of its alliance with the BJP in Assam over the Bill. However, barely two months later, with the Bill lapsed in the Rajya Sabha, the AGP joined the BJP again and contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls together.
Mahanta said the party should reject the Bill at any cost as it will infringe the rights of the indigenous people of the state.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the people belonging to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis who have become the victims of religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and entered India on or before December 31st, 2014.
Massive protests broke out in Assam as the Centre is all set to reintroduce the Bill in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament.