The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in India, which was passed in 2016, has come under grave scrutiny and protests in the North-East, especially in Assam and Meghalaya. The bill claims to be 'politically motivated' in these regions and has been termed 'anti-Assam' by BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad and has also been cruised by other regional parties.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 was formulated by the government in order to change the deification of illegal immigrants in the country. The bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016, seeks to amend the citizenship act of 1955, to provide citizenship to illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who're either Hindu, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists or Parsis. The bill also aims to reduce the amount of time for staying in India to become a citizen in the first place. So, instead of 11 years, a minimum of 6 years of staying in the country would be required, if the bill is passed.
Following the new amendment made to the bill, Assam and Meghalaya reacted to it in a grim manner saying the move would make Assam a dumping ground for all Bangladeshi Hindus. The BJP coalition partner have threatened to cut ties with the party if the bill is passed as the locals believe it will affect the cultural identity and linguistics of the indigenous people of the state.
Assam since then has been on protest on the passing of the bill as they believe the long standing concern over the issues of refugees is not going to be put to rest if the bill is in action.
The younger folks in the states have been very upfront about the government's agenda and have questioned it time and again. The ferociousness of their honesty is met with little or no answers so far. A few days ago a young 19-year-old boy Rahul Rajkhowa took to YouTube and posted a rap protesting the bill. The rapper adds, that while the government cannot even help rescue 15 miners stuck in an illegal coal mine, they're hell-bent on helping people from foreign countries based on their religion. The rap ends with the line "...and your agenda for progress is fake" and leaves us gutted with what young people from the North-Eastern states feel at the arms of apathy and agenda pushing.
Watch the video here:
While the protests still continue against the BJP-led government in Assam over this bill, with All Assam Student Union (AASU) waving their black flags at the CM Sarbananda Sonwal, we're not sure what the end result might be. We just hope the government realises the fallacies and problematic situations that may arise with the bill in action and take a relevant step towards ensuring uniformity and peace in the region, instead.