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In Touch with Opposition for United Resistance Against Citizenship Amendment Bill: Congress

Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Bora said the Congress will continue with its objection to the bill, even if it is passed with modifications.


Updated:November 24, 2019, 9:07 PM IST
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In Touch with Opposition for United Resistance Against Citizenship Amendment Bill: Congress
Women march against the proposed reintroduction of the bill in Imphal in October. (News18)

Guwahati: The Congress on Sunday said it has spoken to other Opposition parties in Parliament for a united resistance against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is scheduled to be introduced in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing winter session.

Addressing a press conference here, Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Bora said the Congress will continue with its objection to the bill, even if it is passed with modifications.

"This bill violates the preamble of our Constitution. The Congress will oppose it when it will be introduced in Lok Sabha," said Bora, who is also the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) chief.

The Congress "high command" has already spoken to other opposition parties for putting forward a joint stand against the proposed legislation, he said.

In the winter session that began on November 18, the government is set to push for the passage of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.

The government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure as well but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties, which criticised the bill as discriminatory on religious grounds.

The bill, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan if they have fled their respective country due to religious persecution, had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.

"The APCC will organise a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on December 13 to protest against the bill and other issues like the National Register of Citizens (NRC)," Bora said.

He asserted that the Congress will not allow the Centre to reject the updated NRC in Assam, and vowed to oppose any move to restart the process in any form.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had on Wednesday said that the NRC exercise will be carried out across the country, including in Assam.

On the same day, the Assam government rejected the NRC, wanting it to be part of a national register.

"The NRC was updated under direct supervision of the Supreme Court. Even (CM) Sarbananda Sonowal, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi had said that this was a historic document. The External Affairs Ministry had also said the NRC was scientific, transparent and prepared under due process.

"Then, why suddenly the Assam government rejected the document? We strongly condemn this. It is a political statement... There are errors in the NRC and those can be easily rectified," Bora said.

He claimed that most of the over 19 lakh people, who were excluded from the final NRC, are genuine Indian citizens and urged the government to start the appeal process for them immediately.

"The government should also dispose off the cases of all the people in detention camps, as keeping them in inhuman conditions is a clear violation of their rights. The pending cases of D-voters (doubtful voters) should also be cleared immediately," the senior Congress leader said.

The final NRC was published on August 31, excluding 19,06,657 people out of a total of 3,30,27,661 applicants.

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