Indian MPs pass contentious citizenship bill that excludes Muslims

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The bandh evoked a response in the Bengali-majority Barak valley also, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 4, had announced that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 will be passed as soon as possible in the parliament as a penance for past injustices.

In their dissent note, Congress Rajya Sabha members Bhubaneswar Kalita and Pradip Bhattacharya said on certain grounds, the bill may create ethnic divisions in Assam and the Northeast.

The supporters of the 70 organisations said they would hold protests in front of offices and installations of Oil India Ltd and ONGC across the state.

Ajit Pratap Singh, superintendent of police of the West Tripura district, told The Indian Express over phone that at around 10am, around 250 protesters had blocked the national highway in the area and had pelted stones on police personnel.

The goal of NRC is to identify those people who immigrated, illegally, from Bangladesh to Assam after 24 March 1971.

The BJP has 61 MLAs and support from 12 MLAs of the Bodoland People's Front and the sole Independent member.

In a joint press statement this evening, NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa and secretary-general Sinam Prakash Singh said the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha despite protests across the Northeast "only goes to show that the government of India has no regard for the indigenous people of the Northeast..."

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The political parties and the civil society opposing the proposed law say it would allow citizenship to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who came to the state after March 1971, in violation to the Assam Accord, 1985.

The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 in order to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years, even if they do not possess the necessary documents. Mizoram and Meghalaya governments have also opposed the bill by adopting a resolution against it in their respective cabinet meetings. "The State has since India's independence absorbed waves of migrants from present day Bangladesh and can no longer do so", AGP president Atul Bora said after returning from New Delhi on Tuesday morning.

"We, therefore, can not remain an ally of the BJP after this move by the Modi government". We never dreamt that the BJP could do this to the people of Assam.

The Sonowal government has no moral right to continue and if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the courage, it should face fresh election, senior Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said here.

"We will oppose the Bill in a bigger way now".

"We tried our best to convince the Modi government not to pursue the Bill that goes against the constitutional provisions, besides being potentially unsafe for the indigenous people of Assam. There is a divisive nature to this bill and the draft committee has shot down all suggested amendments", Professor Sougata Roy, a member of parliament from Trinamool Congress, said during the protest.

As the Congress and the TMC's demand for sending the Bill again to a parliamentary panel were rejected by the government, they staged a walkout.

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