Dr Bhupen Hazarika with his son Tej Hazarika (left). Credit: File Image

Guwahati: While the report of music icon Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s family turning down Bharat Ratna, country’s highest civilian award, in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has been doing rounds among a section of the media, the legendary singer’s family members have come forward to clarify that the report has been a result of mere misinterpretation.

The matter surfaced after the maestro’s son took to social media on February 11, Facebook to share a post raising questions on the government trying to impose the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill despite protest from all corners of the society. The post read, “As the son of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika—one of the most popular and loved cultural and socio-political figures for the people of Assam and it’s neighboring sister states of India’s great Northeast—I believe that my father’s name and words are being invoked and celebrated publicly while plans are afoot to pass a painfully unpopular bill regarding citizenship that is actually undermining his documented position. It would in reality be in direct opposition to what Bupenda believed in his heart of hearts.”

However, the part where Tej clearly stated that he has not received any invitation from the government on receiving the award, “Numerous media journalists are now asking me whether or not I will accept the Bharat Ratna for my father. I go on record here to answer that I have not received any invitation so far there is nothing to reject”.

The maestro’s brother Samar Hazarika and nephew Dawor Hazarika also came forward to clarify that Tej’s words have been misinterpreted and said that the report is nothing more than a rumour.

Popular singer Samar Hazarika went on to say that politics and Bharat Ratna are two different things and associating them is not a legitimate move and due to this the award has been undignified.

“There are several organisations who demanded Bharat Ratna to be conferred to Dr. Bhupen Hazarika while he was still alive. However, the government has entitled him with the award which has fulfilled the wish of the people of the entire region and I urge that people should not associate Bhupen Da with any such controversy. It is not within our rights to reject the award,” Samar said during a conversation to East Mojo.

He also went on to say that there has either been a misinterpretation or wrong presentation of the report and urged people to keep Bhupen Hazarika out of any kind of controversy.

Screen shot of post shared by Tej Hazarika on Facebook.

Similar views were also echoed by Dawor Hazarika who said that the report is a misinterpretation of Tej’s words.

“Till the time we were approached by people, we had no knowledge about what Tej had said. But later when we came across the post, it said that Tej was opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which is his personal opinion and it was nowhere mentioned that we have declined Bharat Ratna. In fact, we graciously accept it and I hope that the news gets rectified,” Dawor mentioned to East Mojo.

However, the post shared by Tej clearly opposes the bill while calling it “undemocratic, unconstitutional and un-Indian”.

“Adopting any form of this bill at this point in the manner in which it is being proffered, now or in the future, will ultimately have the sad and undesirable effect of not only disrupting the quality of life, language, identity and power balance of the region, but that of undermining my father’s position—by delivering a wreaking blow to the harmony, inner integrity and unity of the secular and democratic Republic of India”, the post further read.

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