Anup Chetia’s Daughter opposes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at UN Council in Geneva

Guwahati, July 5: Daughter of ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia has opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Tuesday.

22-year-old Bonnya Barua raised the issue of the Bill at the Council. She spoke on behalf of the Forum on Indigenous Rights, Assam (Khilonjia Suraksha Mancha), which was invited to the UNHRC session. Pro-talk ULFA leader Chetia is the convener of the Forum and Bonnya is one of its members.

The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for Indian citizenship.

Delivering her speech at the 38th session of the UNHRC, Bonnya said that the Bill will reduce the indigenous communities of Assam into minorities.

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She raised the Bill issue while speaking on racial discrimination. It was agenda Number 9 at the UNHRC session.

“The Durban Declaration had turned victims of discrimination into human rights holders and States into duty bearers. The Government of India must uphold the rights of the people of Assam.  The people of the region were being forced to assimilate with illegal migrants.  The State had an opportunity to correct the issue,” she said.

Speaking to TIME8, Chetia informed that Bonnya, who has obtained the Bachelor of  Commerce degree from Dayananda Sagar University in Bengaluru, is now pursuing her higher studies in Delhi.

It may be mentioned that the state is witnessing a widespread protest against the Bill as it is feared that it will change the demography of Assam which will pose a threat to the culture and tradition of the indigenous people.