AGP accuses Sarbananda Sonowal of 'not cooperating' on Citizenship Bill

Protesters against the bill have accused settlers of taking away jobs from indigenous groups

Protesters against the bill have accused settlers of taking away jobs from indigenous groups

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) said on Monday it has made a decision to exit the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government in Assam over the Centre's stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, even as protests continued across the border state and spilled on to Delhi with some demonstrators stripping naked outside Parliament.

The decision followed an AGP delegation's meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, who asserted that the government will ensure its passage in Lok Sabha Tuesday, Bora said.

The Bill is aimed to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

The NDA government introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha on 19 July 2016 - the aim was to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The committee observed that several Assamese organisations have protested against the proposed amendments on the ground that the burden of the illegal migrants would be passed on to the state besides conferring political and economic rights upon such migrants to the detriment of indigenous communities. "The AGP protested against the bill ever since it was proposed", the AGP founder said.

"The BJP-led government was formed in Assam on the basis of a pre-poll alliance with the AGP".

No one was injured in the attack but the windows of the office chamber of state BJP President Shibun Lyngdoh were damaged. The AASU declined to be part of the committee until the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is scrapped.

While addressing a protest meeting against the Citizenship Bill in Guwahati on Monday, Mr Mahanta stated that his party was all set to walk out of the alliance with the BJP. "They were determined to pass the bill so we chose to break the alliance", Bora said.

Northeast India on January 8 witnessed a complete shutdown after the North East Students' Organization (NESO), the umbrella body of all the major students' associations in the region, called for an 11-hour strike to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. "We now regret entering into an alliance with the BJP". "As this alliance no longer exists now, we demand that the current Assam government be dissolved", Mahanta told reporters.

It is estimated that millions of Bengali-speaking people in Assam trace their roots to Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which won independence from Pakistan in 1971 with India's help. "We therefore can not remain an ally of the BJP after this move by the Modi government", AGP president Atul Bora said. Besides the Congress and the CPI (M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF), BJP allies such as Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) and National People's Party (NPP) in Meghalaya and most other regional parties are strongly opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, asking for its withdrawal.

Same was the scene in most of the capital cities of the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya where the bandh had substantial impact.

Critics have called the bill, to be discussed in parliament on Tuesday, an attempt by Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to boost its Hindu voter base ahead of a national election due by May.

Out of the 126 seats in the Assam Legislative Assembly, BJP has 61 seats while the AGP has 12 seats.

Expressing their discontent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the protesters gave Anti-BJP slogans and even burnt a copy of the Bill which the JPC had tabled in the Parliament.

"NESO warned the Union government not to play with the future of the indigenous people of the northeastern region for vote bank politics", the statement added.

New, Democratic-majority Senate stalls anti-BDS bill
All Major Networks to Air President Trump’s Address to the Nation