By T Navajyoti / Guwahati
Expressing serious concern over mounting tensions between two valleys of Assam, the Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA), today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take personal initiative to defuse worries among the residents.
The forum of nationalist citizens asserted that few anti-national elements were working against the social harmony where the State government in Dispur shockingly remains silent.
It may be noted that on the backdrop of Centre’s citizenship amendment initiative in favour of religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the State witnessed an uproarious situation, where most of the Assamese speaking residents in Brahmaputra valley opposed it and those of Barak valley supported the move.
Lately a section of authors, editor-journalists, former militants and social activists have explained the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 in a biased manner for repeated times that the bill would be applicable for Assam only and once it is passed in the Parliament millions of Hindu Bangladeshi families would arrive in the State demanding Indian citizenship and the process would continue until India is made a land of Hindus.
“A protester has the right to own point of view according to put his/her game plan and that also may be published in newspapers or telecast through news channels. But the authority should promptly
respond to any biased views and clarify the government position. Otherwise, the common people would be misinformed and they might get confused,” said a PPFA statement.
The forum expresses unhappiness that the State government was yet to make effective arrangements to enlighten the locals about the citizenship bill. The debates around the bill continue revolving with half truths and motivated facts, which had only increased the anxiety of Assamese people in the last few months, claimed the statement.
“We donot know what has prevented the State government (read chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal) from clarifying to the people that most of the agitators in Brahmaputra valley were debating with imaginary facts. Sonowal should (could) have taken some initiatives to counter the campaign with disinformation and finally educate the people about actual contents of the bill,” added the statement. Taking advantage of the chief minister’s silence over the citizenship bill, many started raising voices in full public view that Sonowal must clarify his stand (whether he is with the locals or Bangladeshi people). Even the separatist elements like United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) has reportedly stepped into the trouble water to get advantage of the situation, where the rift between the Assamese and Bengali communities turn more visible.
The banned militant outfit may even try to mislead the Assamese community in Brahmaputra valley with the argument that the said bill is an imposition of New Delhi over Assam following the diktat of Bengali elements.
Hence the forum appealed to Prime Minister to clarify that the concerned bill is not at all Assam centric and there is no provision for inviting more Bangladeshi citizens after 31 December 2014. Public meetings, media advertisements and putting hoardings in responsive localities may be some affective ways for disseminating the information, stated the forum adding that PM Modi should somehow address growing anxieties of the Assamese community.
“We prefer a healthy debate over the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 across the country. As Assam is boiling over the issue, the people here should get enlightened first about the bill so that they can participate in the debate with facts avoiding unnecessary emotions. Otherwise the discourses might affect the existing communal harmony among various linguistic, religious and ethnic groups, for which Assam is recognized since time immemorial,” concluded the statement.