In season of NRC, AGP rakes up Citizenship Bill

‘Ongoing exercise will be useless if Centre passes it’

Asom Gana Parishad, an ally of the ruling BJP in Assam, said on Monday that the ongoing updation process of the National Register of Citizens will be of no use if the Centre passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

AGP president and Assam Minister Atul Bora said The Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015, and the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015, are “back-handed means” of the Centre to grant citizenship to foreigners of “certain religions” staying in the country illegally.

“If the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is passed, the exercise of updating the NRC will be of no use,” Mr. Bora alleged at a press conference here.

“The Central government is trying to grant Indian citizenship to people of certain religions, claiming that they are facing religious persecution in their homelands. The AGP strongly protests any such attempt and we will stop such attempts at any cost,” he said.

The AGP, Mr. Bora said, has been in talks with other parties like the Shiv Sena, who have presence in the Parliament, over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. “We will foil any attempt to make it into a law.”

Mr. Bora, who is the State Agriculture Minister, said an AGP team, led by its working president and Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta, met the NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela and submitted a memorandum demanding an error-free NRC.

“We want an error-free NRC in which name of no foreigner is included and name of no genuine citizen is excluded. The Supreme Court is monitoring the process and we are hopeful of such a genuine document,” he said.

Asked to comment on the West Bengal Chief Minister’s strong opposition to the NRC complete draft, Mr. Bora said, “Politicians like Mamata Banerjee should refrain from trying to create a divide between the people for the sake of vote bank.”

The Assam government should deal sternly with such people trying to create tension, he added.

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