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


It also had no impact in southern Assam's Barak Valley, which has been supporting the Citizenship Bill since the inception.

Singh said the BJP-led government had eased visa norms for such migrants in 2015-16 but they could not apply for Indian citizenship as they were regarded as "illegal migrants". "The AGP protested against the bill ever since it was proposed", the AGP founder said.

Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha (LS) on Tuesday amid protests by the opposition and the shutdown called by the North East Students' Organisation (NESO) across Northeast India.

Assam, which is controlled by an alliance led by Modi's Hindu-right Bharatiya Janata Party, is known for its lush tea estates and rhino sanctuaries.

Ajit Pratap Singh, superintendent of police of the West Tripura district, told The Indian Express over phone that at around 10am, around 250 protesters had blocked the national highway in the area and had pelted stones on police personnel.

Accusing the BJP of adopting an anti-Assam policy, Mahanta said, "Let the BJP form a new government alone".

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The BJP has 61 MLAs and support from 12 MLAs of the Bodoland People's Front and the sole Independent member.

"We have identified the stone pelters by seeing video footage and they will be booked soon", Assam police official Surjeet Singh Panesar said.

India wants to give citizenship to immigrants belonging to religious minorities persecuted in neighboring Muslim countries, including Pakistan, because they have nowhere go except India, the interior minister said on Tuesday.

Talking to newsmen, Conrad Sangma termed the passing of the Bill as unfortunate saying the Meghalaya Government had vehemently opposed the Bill and the Cabinet had even passed a resolution against the implementation of the Bill.

This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014.

The NESO and its federal units in the seven Northeast states clamped the 11-hour bandh across the region on 8 January to protest against the bill.

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A meeting of the AGP was held in Guwahati on Friday on the issue and it was decided that if the Bill is passed in Lok Sabha, "we will withdraw support to the government in the state", Mahanta said earlier in the day.

The bill, he said, was against the Assam Accord of 1985 and created to marginalize the indigenous people of the Northeast.

The AGP had placed its reservations on the Bill before the Joint Parliamentary Committee when the panel had visited the state and also tried to mobilise opinion against the Bill among NDA constituents such as the JD (U) and Shiv Sena, and opposition parties.

The AGP and other groups in Assam claim that the provisions of the bill will nullify the 1985 Assam Accord, which provides for deportation of all illegal migrants, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after March 1971.

BJP Spokesperson Rupam Goswami said, "We have not got any information officially. But the BJP has made a decision to go ahead with the Bill, leaving us with no option but to quit the alliance", Mr Bora said after meeting Mr Singh.

Members of Asom Yuba Chatra Parishad staged a nude protest against the Bill at Tinsukia in Upper Assam, and in Delhi, too, some of the demonstrators stripped naked outside Parliament.

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