Published On: Sun, Jan 13th, 2019

Assam Accord should not be changed at any cost: BJP MLA

Guwahati: BJP MLA Padma Hazarika on Sunday said the March 24, 1971 deadline in the Assam Accord for detecting and deporting illegal immigrants should be respected and not changed at any cost.

“I want the deadline in the Assam Accord to be respected,” Assam BJP MLA Padma Hazarika said.

Addressing a party workers’ meeting at his Sootea constituency in Sonitpur district, Hazarika said he would not accept the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which favoured changing the deadline to December 31, 2014 for all non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens.

When contacted, Hazarika told PTI, “It was a party meeting to felicitate the winners in the panchayat election. Some people wanted to know my views on the current situation. As I was an active member of the Assam Movement, which gave the Assam Accord, I will not want that pact to be violated.”

He also asserted that he was not in favour of any change in the Assam Accord.

“I want the deadline in the Assam Accord to be respected,” Hazarika added.

Asked if he was against the bill that his party was bringing in, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator evaded a direct reply and said the Assam Accord should be respected.

Hazarika is the first MLA of the ruling party to speak publicly against the provisions of the bill after it was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8.

He was an Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MLA before switching over to the BJP to contest the 2016 state Assembly polls on the saffron party’s ticket.

Protests have been raging on across Assam after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Silchar on January 4 that the bill would be passed as soon as possible.

Moments after the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, state BJP spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora resigned from all posts of the party protesting against the development, while state vice-president Chandrakanta Das also quit the party last week.

Two office-bearers of the saffron party’s Barpeta district unit also resigned in protest against the bill.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and entered India before December 31, 2014, after six years of residence in the country, instead of the current 12 years, even if they do not possess any proper documents.

PTI

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