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ET Special Podcast (ET Online)

Citizenship Act: Assam protesters not willing to relent

02:49 Min | December 13, 2019, 5:20 PM IST
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Violent protests, water cannons, tear gas - while the Houses debated the gains and losses of the Bill, people in Assam took to the streets to show their resentment. And the reason for this resentment? Its simple really, they don't want an influx of migrants in their state.
Transcript
Script: Poorabi Gaekwad
Hosts: Sakshi Prashar, Poorabi Gaekwad
Producer: Sakshi Prashar


The Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill on Wednesday.

And last night, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill, which set it in stone as law.

But ever since the Bill was tabled, the Northeast has been up in arms. Hello, Im---

And I am Sakshi Prashar & with me is Poorabi Gaekwad .In this ET’s Special Podcast, we discuss what’s happening in Assam right now.

Violent protests, water cannons, tear gas - while the Houses debated the gains and losses of the Bill, people in Assam took to the streets to show their resentment.

And the reason for this resentment? Its simple really, they don't want an influx of migrants in their state.

The people believe that between 1947 and 1971, when there was an influx of immigrants from Bangladesh, it was their state, Assam, that bore the brunt of it.

And now, with this new Bill that seemingly makes it easier for a large section of illegal migrants to become citizens of India, they fear they will have to bear the same trauma again.

And even though the Centre has assured that this will not affect the Assam Accord, many are still skeptical.

The Assam Accord was signed in 1985, after years of violent protests that led to hundreds of deaths.

The Accord was created to detect foreigners in the electoral rolls and delete their names subsequently.

The main aim was to “protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”

And with the new Amendment to the CItizenship Bill, many believe that this will render the Accord void.

But is that really the case?

Well, the accord put the date of detection and deportation of foreigners as March 25 1971. The new bill puts the cut-off date of 2014.

But the ILP still exists, right?

What’s ILP?

The Inner Line Permit was introduced in 1873, to preserve certain areas in the Northeast, especially tribal areas. People who did not live in these areas were not allowed to settle in these places, even after getting a permit.

So it kept these areas “untouched”? No migrants were allowed?

Exactly.

But doesn’t it cover almost all of the northeast?

Not really, the ILP is only applicable in 7 out of 33 Assam districts.

But Amit Shah has assured the people that it will be extended to other places.

For now. But today, people are still out in the streets protesting.

An internet shutdown has been imposed in the area.

Over 5,000 paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to control the situation.

And the movement has spread from Assam.

While the Prime Minister has assured that there is no threat to anyone’s cultural identity, we’ll have to wait for more reports on the situation.
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