21:39 GMT17 April 2021
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    The Narendra Modi government passed the Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) in 2019 but it delayed the implementation due to massive protests last year. According to the Bill, it allowed non-Muslim nationals from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to gain Indian nationality.

    Ahead of the assembly polls in the state of Assam in northeast India, opposition parties and student unions launched a fresh attack on the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the latter promises to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state.

    "BJP wants to destroy the identity of the indigenous people of Assam. They (BJP) are preparing a blueprint to destroy Assam by dumping illegal immigrants in the state. We will not let this happen and continue our protest," Dipankar Kumar Nath, President of the All Assam Students' Union, best known for leading the six-year Assam Movement against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, told Sputnik.

    According to the student union, the CAA, which gives citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants who entered India before 31 December, 2014, contradicts the Assam Accord.

    This accord, signed in 1985 between the representatives of the All Assam Students Union, the Assam state government and the government of India, reads: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”

    The accord also prescribes the detection and deportation of all immigrants, irrespective of faith, who entered Assam after the midnight of 24 March, 1971. 

     "We will continue our protest against the BJP and CAA. People have rejected this Act, and we will never accept it," AASU President Nath emphasised. 

    AASU held a statewide protest against the BJP last week, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was holding an electoral rally in the state. 

    Assembly elections for 126 seats in Assam will be held in three phases starting from 27 March, and the counting of votes will take place on 2 May.

    Last year, massive protests erupted all over the state in which several people were killed and the government of India was forced to cancel the annual summit with Japan's then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. To pacify the anger of locals, BJP, which is also governing the state, said that the law will be implemented in such a way that it protects local’s interests.

    Ranjeet Kumar Dass, state chief of BJP, said on Sunday that the party has passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill in parliament, and “we stand by it”. “Once the regulation for it is completed, and if we come back to power in Assam, we will implement CAA. There is no question of going back on the issue even during election time." 

    Soon after Dass comments, Congress veteran and former federal home minister P. Chidambaram slammed BJP while claiming that, "CAA will divide the nation."

    ​In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said that CAA intends to intimidate and put fear in the minds of millions of poor and law-abiding citizens, especially Muslims, and threaten them with incarceration in detention camps.

    ​The December 2019 passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill by parliament triggered nationwide protests by Muslims, who claim that the law is a plank by the Bharatiya Janata Party government to deprive them of their Indian citizenship.

    Federal home minister Amit Shah assured protesters during statements in parliament that the new law was intended as a means of awarding Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


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