Citizenship cut-off date: Assam CM’s views contradictory, alleges Forum
Prabajan Virodhi Manch convener Upamanyu Hazarika

GUWAHATI: Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) convener and Supreme Court advocate Upamanyu Hazarika has accused Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of making “contradictory views” on the issue of the cut-off date for the grant of citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh.

“Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma yesterday gave two sets of contradictory views on the issue of the cut-off date for the grant of citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh. He says that because the then Assam government signed the Accord, it has to be 1971. But on the other hand, he supports 1951 along with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies,” Hazarika said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“This is nothing but an attempt at confusing the indigenous people by indulging in doublespeak. The fact is that there’s today only an affidavit of the state government supporting 1971 as the cutoff date,” the Manch convenor and senior advocate said.

PVM is a forum against illegal immigrants.

The validity of the Assam Accord cut-off date, March 25, 1971, is coming up for a hearing before the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on February 14, 2023.

“The sanctity which he (chief minister Sarma) assigns to the Assam Accord cut-off date is contradicted by his own government policy under Mission Basundhara 2.0, under which by notification of November 11, 2022, Bangladeshis coming into Assam prior to 2011 are being allotted land in 14 lakh bighas of grazing reserves. He has modified the cutoff date to 2011,” he said.

“When the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) (IMDT) Act was under challenge before the Supreme Court, the then NDA government at the Centre and AGP government in the state had supported the repeal of the IMDT Act. After Congress came to power in the state they changed the state government affidavit to support the IMDT Act. Sarma was a part of that government,” Hazarika pointed out.

“Today the affidavit of the state government on record before the Supreme Court was filed. Sarma was the Assam Accord implementation minister in the earlier Congress government supporting 1971. Since then Sarma has joined the BJP, but the affidavit remains unchanged in spite of his professing support for 1951 is the cutoff date,” he said.

“Even now there’s time to file a new affidavit against 1971 being the cutoff date if his intentions are honest,” he added.

“What Sarma has voiced yesterday before the media and the people of Assam can be filed in an affidavit before the Supreme Court. Regardless of what he says, Sarma’s actions have always been consistently in favour of Bangladeshis and he makes these confusing statements only to beguile the public,” Hazarika alleged.

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