Assam, one of the most serene states of Northeast India, has been in headlines for quite some time now over the controversial topic of National Register for Citizens (NRC) exercise. While the NRC exercise in itself drew several controversies, Citizenship Amendment Bill,2016, further aggravates the issue.
While a significant number of population and all the public organisation of Assam vehemently opposed the bill, the state government is still neutral and not cleared their stand regarding the bill. The most remarkable thing is that CM Sarbanand Sonowal, who was once the former leader of AASU and fought against the illegal migrant issue in high court during Assam Movement, became mute after attaining power. They are those people who declared and promised to get rid of illegal migrants in the state and talked about Jati, Mati, Veti. Even, the central government after winning election vowed that illegal Bangladeshi migrants have to flee from Assam with all their belongings.
The people of Assam trusted their words. For a long time, they have been facing hardships due to illegal migration from Bangladesh. They hoped that maybe this government would be able to cure this long-pending problem of the state. This was the main motto of the Assam Movement and Assam Accord 1985 where many people sacrificed their blood and lives. That movement is long gone now, and the hero of that movement turned into a minister and grabbed power. But the issue remains unaddressed.
After the losing trust from those politicians, Assamese had huge hopes from Sarbananda Sonowal, who was regarded as “Jatiyatabadi Nayak” of Assam. The party used these sentiments to gather votes and come to power. The public had hoped for many new changes and development, and the primary hope was to make Assam free from illegal settlers.
People awaited the promised ‘Acche Din’ by the PM, but their hopes were rewarded with Citizenship Amendment Bill,2016, that proposes to welcome Bangladeshi migrants( except Muslims) as Indian citizens. Consequently, the people of Assam want to ask PM Modi: “Do you want Assam of Assamese People or Assam of Foreigners?”.
Assam CM who vowed not to take any decision which could harm the identity and harmony in the state is now mute to give any comment regarding this matter. Delhi is geared up to introduce Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 during the winter parliament Winter Parliament. Once passed, the corresponding law would welcome as many as one crore illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam.
It’s a nightmare for the state that is still grappling with cores of illegal migrants. Disgruntled with the bill, many took to streets to vehemently stage protests against the proposed bill. The same people who once promised to protect the land and identity of the indigenous people have now turned blind to the issue. They forgot everything even their promise and their own identity. Now, party’s electoral strategies have replaced its commitments before the Assam assembly elections.
Although Sonowal’s stand is still not clear, Assamese people understand the meaning of this silence. He is on the sides of his political guru. The most notable question is “ Does including Hindu Bangladeshi in the state really protect our identity, religion, and culture?” Maybe they need to understand that Assamese is a term collaborated with all religion. Their Hindu-centric mentality will not work in Assam. Assamese people don’t discriminate people based on faith. This is the land of both Guru Shankardev and Ajan Peer. Maybe our CM forgot all the morals of Gurujana and his own identity, but the entire state is ready to fight this war to protect their identity and land. They will stand like a rock blocking the Citizenship Amendment Bill and will succeed.