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Modi trying to divide Assam on religious & linguistic lines: Cong

The Congress on Friday accused Narendra Modi of trying to divide Assam on religious and linguistic lines, hours after the Prime Minister announced that the citizenship bill would be passed in the Parliament soon.

State Congress president Ripun Bora told reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not know what it wants, as implementation of the Assam Accord and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, cannot be done simultaneously.

“Modi came today to divide Assam on religious and linguistic lines. He wants to bring Hindu Bangladeshis to Assam only for vote-bank politics,” Bora said.

Earlier in the day, Modi told an election rally near Silchar in Assam’s Barak Valley that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, would be passed soon in the Parliament as a “penance against the injustice and many wrongs done in the past”.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

Modi also spoke of implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which states all immigrants coming after March 24, 1971, were illegal.

“So, they (BJP) do not know what they are saying. It’s completely contradictory. Basically, Modi and the BJP are blackmailing people with the bill,” Bora said.

The Lok Sabha MP clarified that there were no “double standards” between the Congress leaders of Bengali-dominated Barak Valley and rest of the state regarding the bill.

“Our Barak Valley leaders are just saying that people coming from Bangladesh should be given citizenship as per the Assam Accord. That means, all those who came before March 24, 1971, should be accepted,” he said.

Bora said that the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) for the bill would submit its report on Monday, a day before the Winter Session of the Parliament is scheduled to end.

“In one day, nobody can prepare a bill, discuss and pass it in both Houses of Parliament. It proves that Modi cannot pass the bill now. They (BJP) are just seeking votes by indirectly saying, ‘if you (people) vote for us (BJP), then the bill will be passed by the next BJP-led government’,” he added.

On December 31, all amendments to the bill moved by the Opposition in the JPC, headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal, were defeated.

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