Assam environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya told ET, “Congress in Barak Valley supports CAA, and in Brahmaputra valley opposes CAA. This shows the double standard of the party.”
Citizen Amendment Act says that prosecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan are eligible for citizenship if they have lived in India for six years or more.
Assam’s Barak valley is dominated by Bengali-speaking people. Several organisations in the valley have been demanding introduction of CAA.
“Though Congress is trying is reap electoral benefit out of CAA, it will be of no benefit to it. This is not an issue and Congress together with its allies will not win more than three to four seats,” Suklabaidya said.
Assam witnessed bitter protests in 2019 and early 2020 when the Citizen Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament. Five people were killed in the protests, there was violence and curfew for several days.
The opposition Congress has said it will unveil a memorial for those who died during the CAA protest if voted to power in the state. The party has also asked its cadres to visit every house in the state and collect gamosa (scarf) with anti-CAA messages, which will be displayed at a proposed ‘Martyrs’ Memorial’ in Guwahati.
Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, during the release of his book ‘Chasing a dream’, last week said “the rules of CAA will strike balance” between those seeking citizenship and protection of Assam’s interest. “I take pride as Hindu. I am Hindu first. The thought process that Bharat and Assam are different is contrary to the preaching of Srimanta Sankardev (a 15th century saint-reformer),” he said.
The minister said that in 2016, the BJP’s manifesto talked about safeguarding jati, mati and bheti (race, land and hearth) was misinterpreted. “This time we are making things clear in the manifesto with staunch nationalism. Assam’s identity is clearly related to Indian. Last manifesto was understood in letters and not spirit. Hindus all over the world are our brother. How can BJP’s manifesto in Assam be different from the national manifesto of Lok Sabha polls of 2014?”