As Assam continues to simmer, popular Assamese actress Barsha Rani Bishaya appealed to the Assam Chief Minister to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“Before an artist, I am an Assamese and will continue to protest against the Bill. The people who are protesting are not fools. We will always support people who will work for the benefit of the state and its people. We cannot allow anybody to destroy our community, culture and tradition,” said the Ratnakar actress.
She added, “If the Bill is passed, the indigenous people of the state will become a minority. The Bill is a threat to our language and culture. We cannot forget the martyrs who died during the Assamese Language Movement.”
The Bill that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there has triggered widespread protests in Assam. Effigies are being burnt and multiple rallies are being organised across the state to oppose the Bill.
The actress further said, “I would ask the government to look into the appeal of the people. It is the people of the state who brought them (BJP) into power.”
Earlier in the day, another popular actor Ravi Sarma has resigned from the primary membership of the BJP. Popular singer Zubeen Garg and renowned actoress Nishita Goswami opposed also the Bill. Actor-director Jatin Bora who was heckled by anti-Bill supporters in Tezpur has also voiced against the Bill.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has tabled the Bill in the Lok Sabha on December 9th, 2019 amidst strong protest by the opposition leaders.
After the Bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet on December 4th, 2019, protests have intensified in Assam with a large section of people, civil organisations and students’ bodies opposing the Bill. The agitators said that the Bill goes against the spirit of secularism and will nullify the provisions of the historic 1985 Assam Accord, which fixed March 24th, 1971, as the cut-off date to identify illegal foreigners.
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31st, 2014, facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.