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Why the Assamese people are protesting against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill?

This is copied from a netigen from Assam clarifying the protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 (CAB).

Ever since the CAB is passed in Lok Sabha, massive protests erupted all over the state of Assam. Non-Assamese people, living outside Assam, are confused as to why are they protesting?

Is it their love for secularism or is it a left liberal agenda, sponsored by external agencies? Are they generally protest-happy folks without jobs or there are genuine concerns that we, non-Assamese people, don’t understand?

Let me clarify it.

  1. We are not protesting against CAB because we are a bunch of left liberal pseudo-seculars who are unhappy because persecuted Muslims are not part of CAB. Sorry, we don’t care about that. Our protest is not because it is discriminatory towards Muslims as some of the foreign media and politicians are trying to portray.
  2. We are also not protesting because persecuted Hindus are being given citizenship. We are okay with it as we understand that India’s long cultural heritage makes it the only domicile of all Hindus
  3. Then why are we protesting? We are protesting because Assam has a history of massive influx of illegal Bangladeshis. For various reasons (from economic to partition to war), over last 50 years, 7 million Bangladeshis have taken shelter in Assam changing its demography completely (There are various articles and studies on this which can be googled). The people of Assam, especially the students, led a massive protest against this problem in the 80s (google Assam Agitation, Student’s Movement, AASU, Prafulla Mahanta). After sacrificing 800+ lives, and countless student-years, we finally got NRC (among other things) thru Assam Accord. Despite all its flaws, high court monitored NRC was the best effort made so far in identifying illegal Bangladeshis after years of lip service by politicians. We were not happy with the final outcome of NRC as it could detect only 1.9 million but nonetheless, we accepted it grudgingly as ‘something is better than nothing’. It also gave us confidence that no more Bangladeshis can come or get regularized beyond 2019. Unfortunately, CAB nullifies all of it and not only legitimize 0.5 million out of 1.9 million but also opens the door for future influx! That’s why we are protesting.

Now imagine the plight and pain of Assam 30 years from now with constant influx and increase in population of Hindu Bangladeshis (or Muslim Bangladeshis in the guise of Hindu) –

  1. Assamese language and people will become a minority in Assam.
  2. Majoritarian democracy of Bengalis will ensure total annihilation of Assamese language, culture and heritage

That’s why we are protesting.

BJP was voted to power in Assam for flawless execution of Assam Accord which AGP and Congress failed to implement. They also promised identification and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis. But with CAB, we are now forced to accept the burden of legalized Bangladeshis. This feels like a betrayal.

And that’s why we are protesting.

BJP leaders say :

  1. All over NE, people have welcomed CAB
  2. In Assam, some people are opposing without knowing what CAB is. Others are opposing knowing fully well what CAB is.
  3. Maximum 5 lac people are likely to get Indian citizenship thru CAB
  4. But it is a lengthy and tedious process which includes application and scrutiny
  5. As per AASU there are 70 lac illegal immigrants in Assam. But NRC says only 19 lac illegal immigrants. No one protested when 50 lac people got included in NRC, but they are protesting now when we are making another 5 lac people Indian citizens
  6. If you protest for inclusion of 5 lac Hindu Bangladeshis in CAB, then you should have protested for inclusion of 50 lac Muslim Bangladeshis in NRC as well
  7. When Amit Shah says he will re-do CAB all over India again, why don’t you welcome it?
  8. Left liberals are taking this movement towards Bangladeshi Muslims
  9. Congress is not opposing CAB because of Assamese people, but it is doing so as the bill is not secular. So, if you include ‘Muslim’ in CAB, then they have no objection to the bill
  10. In Assam, people are protesting against CAB without understanding this
  11. But those who are opposing it knowing CAB fully aware, we will take political action against them. We will face them on election day, along with people
  12. Amit Shah offered AASU to omit 70 lac names from NRC by working together in exchange for inclusion of 5 lac Hindu Bangladeshi thru CAB. AASU rejected it. Why?
  13. Prafulla Mahanta should first seek apology for secret killings before talking about CAB. Has he ever visited any family of the victims? How can such people be guardians of Assam?
  14. Muslim Bangaldeshis are occupying our land / Satra, they are taking our job, raping our girls. People who have visited those places and seen the plight of our people, will not oppose CAB. Rather they would accept these 5 lac Hindu Bangladeshis as a counterbalance. Otherwise Assam will become another Kasmir

Dear BJP ...I respect your political acumen and oratory skills but there are a few direct questions that you need to answer without indulging in whataboutery

  1. If CAB is not good for Bodo, Karbi and Dima Hasao, how it is good for rest of Assam?
  2. If rest of the NE states could protect themselves thru ILP, why Assam couldn’t do it thru clause 6 or any other instruments?
  3. Is importing Hindu Bangladeshi is the only solution to counter the menace of Muslim Bangladeshis? By that logic we should create Hindu terrorists to counter Jihadis, no?

May be there is some greater good that we have failed to see or understand. We are open to a logical explanation but not some roundabout rhetoric whataboutery about AASU, INC, AGP, or Assam becoming another Kasmir. Hope you will honor the mandate of people and convince us about CAB soon.

Till such time we will keep protesting.

Few clarification and cautions

  1. Dear INC (and other opposition parties), you have no moral right to stand with us in this agitation as for donkey’s years you have exploited Assam, indulged in politics of appeasement and aggravated the Bangladeshi issue. We believe you are the root cause of all the evils. So, don’t use the protest to score your political brownie points
  2. Dear left liberals (and foreign media and Imran Khan), we are not agitating because CAB is ‘unconstitutional and non-secular’ or discriminatory towards Muslims. Please stay clear and don’t try to hijack the agitation giving others a chance to say it is sponsored by left liberals. It is NOT.
  3. Dear Bhakts, believe it or not, protesting folks of Assam are also bhakts as we have elected BJP govt in center and state. We are not agitating because we are misinformed about CAB, or we have problems with foreign Hindus getting Indian citizenship or it is sponsored by left liberals or Muslim appeasers. The emotions are genuine and spontaneous. We supported abrogation of article 370 and will support uniform civil code. Try to understand, then, why we are protesting in this case rather than ridiculing it. Otherwise stay clear.
  4. Dear students of Assam, a previous generation of students sacrificed their life during the 80s which destroyed the educational and competitive environment of Assam. Looking back, we know it has caused more harm than gains. Please don’t get sucked into it. Concentrate on your academics. Let the grownups take up the fight thru constitutional means.
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