Hiren Gohain fury at Centre’s policy on citizenship for non-Muslim migrants

Noted scholar Hiren Gohain has slammed the central government’s move to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from the neighbouring countries, especially from Bangladesh. He appealed to the Centre to scrap the ‘deadly’ move.

Gohain, a former professor of Gauhati University, has written in a column in Asomiya Pratidin that this move will have a negative impact on the people of the state.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was tabled in the Parliament on August 11, seeks to give citizenship to religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in India. The bill, however, was referred to a Parliamentary Panel after the Opposition said that the bill needed more scrutiny.

Gohain further alleged that the BJP leaders are trying to mislead the people of the country through this bill.

“Some of the BJP leaders are publicly making statements on Hindu refugees and the religious atrocities. However, nowhere it was mentioned about religious atrocities as a reason when the bill was tabled. Why this was hidden?” Gohain wrote in his column.

He said, instead, there are several ways to better the plight of religious minorities (especially the Hindus) in the neighbouring countries. “The government of India can put pressure on these countries and bring the issue on the international platform,” Gohain said.

Expressing his fear on the loss of identity of Assamese people if this bill is passed, Gohain said that the future looks dark.

“Already we have crisis for land for the indigenous people of the state. On paper there are more than 25 lakh unemployed youths in the state. On top of that, if several lakh Bangladeshi Hindus come and get citizenship here, we will not be surprised to see no local candidates representing in 2024 Lok Sabha or Assembly elections,” he added.

Further, on the fulfilment of election promises, Gohain said that except granting citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus, the government has forgotten everything else.

“After the election, the BJP government has taken a U-turn. They have forgotten their promise to grant the ST status to the six communities and their stand against the Lower Subansiri Mega dam. But, the new government is all set to fulfill their promise of granting citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshi migrants,” he said.