As Northeast including Assam continues to be in the boil, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi appealed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to withdraw the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and restore peace.
The Kaliabor Lok Sabha MP said that the people of the Northeast need employment and not Section 144. Curfew has been imposed in several districts as agitation against the Bill intensified in the state. Internet services were also suspended and paramilitary personnel were deployed in Assam and Tripura.
“It is the BJP which is speaking the language of Jinnah and communal disharmony. People of Northeast India will remember how the BJP has trampled on their identity and culture,” Gogoi tweeted.
Gogoi had earlier said that Bill will have a very negative impact on Northeast India. “The North East of India is a very special part of India that we must protect and preserve but our culture, our literature and our tribal values are missing,” he said.
Slamming the decision to suspend internet services in 10 districts of Assam for 24 hours, the lawmaker tweeted, “Unprecedented. After Kashmir, BJP suspends Internet in Tripura and Assam. Army is being sent to Northeast states. Why is PM Modi and HM Amit Shah in such a rush to pass such a controversial bill?”
After six-hour of debate, the Rajya Sabha approved the Bill with 125 votes in favour and 105 against it on December 11th, 2019. The Lok Sabha passed the legislation on December 9th, 2019 with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it.
In a strongly-worded statement issued immediately after the Bill was passed, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on December 11th, 2019 said the passage of the Bill marks a “dark day” in the constitutional history of India and a “victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces” over the country’s pluralism.
“The Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that our forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a disturbed, distorted and divided India where religion will become a determinant of nationhood,” she said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the Bill is an attack on the Indian constitution. “Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation,” he tweeted.
Speaking to media, Senior Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram, “The Home Minister says 130 crore people are supporting us, obviously he doesn’t count Assam, the North East & all other protestors as part of the 130 crore.”
In Rajya Sabha on December 11th, 2019, Congress leader Anand Sharma led the opposition’s offensive against the Bill, describing it as an assault on the foundation of the constitution.
Photo credit: @GauravGogoiAsm