Appealing to people to step up the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) Chief Akhil Gogoi on Monday said that the Centre is not keen on safeguarding interests of the indigenous population of Assam. Speaking to reporters in Guwahati, Gogoi told that the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s claim that the indigenous population will be safeguarded is simply an attempt to “fool the people.” Gogoi said “The bill was introduced in the last session (Lok Sabha) and a Committee has also been set up for the purpose which is scheduled to submit its recommendations within six months, but the term of the Lower House ends much before that.”
He alleged that the BJP and the RSS, along with Sonowal and Sarma are “simply not interested” in safeguarding the indigenous people, but want to “finish them off by dividing the society along religious lines.” “We are in support of providing ST status to six communities, but it cannot be in exchange of the bill, which, if passed, will ensure that the identity of the Assamese is wiped out,” Gogoi asserted. Religion cannot save the identity of a race but it is the language, social and cultural rights, economy and the political structure that can safeguard the identity and culture of the indigenous population, he said.
He appealed to the people of Assam to protest against the bill so that it is not passed in the Rajya Sabha or in a Joint Session of Parliament. “The time from January 31 to February 13 is very crucial for the survival of the Assamese, as the BJP and the RSS are hell bent to get the Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. “Therefore, I appeal to all to come out and protest or else the indigenous population will become a minority in their own state as has happened in Tripura,” the KMSS leader said. Seventy organisations, led by the KMSS, will step up their agitation from Tuesday, and as a first step, set out to meet leaders of national opposition parties to ensure that the bill is opposed in the Upper House.