Tuesday, 8 May 2018

7th May 2018 | Daily current affairs for APSC

JPC hearing :

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) after a lot of dilly-dallying has started its public hearing on the Citizen- ship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Assam. Originally the exercise was scheduled for November, 2016 but the manner in which it was kept in abeyance under one pretext or the other raised legitimate apprehensions among various quarters in the State.

1. JPC chairman  had reportedly advocated granting of Indian citizenship to Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, and such a stance is not in consonance with the position of an impartial judge taking a hearing to have a realistic assessment of the fears of a large section of the State’s people over the Bill.

2.The parliamentary panel had initially –and for reasons best known to it – refrained from inviting to the hearing several credible organizations. This smacked of biasness and a pre-designed ploy not to give adequate representation to those opposing  the Centre’s move to grant citizenship to Hindu and other  non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh. The fear of marginalization harboured by the State’s indigenous populace – or the Assamese-speaking communities as a whole – has justification.

3. After independence, Indian States were reorganized on the basis of language, and
as of now the Assamese-speaking communities constitute majority in Assam by a small margin. Once the Citizenship Amendment Act is passed, it’s likely that the Bengali speakers will outnumber the Assamese speakers, with a large number of Bengali-speaking Hindu migrants gaining Indian
citizenship. Such an eventuality will have the effect of marginalizing the indigenous populace in their homeland besides creating a situation of perpetual strife, tension and animosity between the two communities. At the root of this disturbing development lies the undue haste shown by the BJP Government to accord citizenship to Hindu migrants to boost its vote bank. In any case, Assam has already accommodated a large populace of Bangladeshi migrants – both Hindus and Muslims – based on the Assam Accord-mandated cut-off date of March 25, 1971.

4.A large segment of illegal migrants has already become India citizens because of easy access to citizenship documents. Demographic changes across a number of districts in Assam are not a
myth and any more induction of Bangladeshi migrants is bound to trigger irreversible fallouts, jeopardizing the future of the indigenous people.

5.The Centre’s move runs counter not just to the Assam Accord but to the secular tenets of the Constitution of India. It’s also clear that more than sympathy for ‘persecuted’ Hindu migrants, the BJP is actually for creating a large vote bank in Assam. With a friendly Government in Bangladesh for a decade – a period that has also witnessed substantial reduction in minority persecution – the ideal course of action for the Centre would have been to put pressure on its neighbour to ensure a safe environment for non-Muslims.


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