Saturday, April 21, 2018

No asylum to Bangla Hindus persecuted post-2014, all immigrants in Assam must adopt Assamese language: PPFA

By NJ Thakuria
Expressing "concern" over "creating sentiments with unhealthy debates and aggressive attacks over the organizations", which reportedly supported the Centre’s initiative to amend the citizenship laws at the Joint Parliamentary Committee hearing in New Delhi recently, the Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) has insisted on "rational debate" over the cotroversial issue.
A forum of influential individuals raising the banner of Assamese culture and tradition, in a statement PPFA has sharply criticised a "section" of Assamese intellectuals and civil society groups that has allegedly tried its best to "project the citizenship amendment bill 2016 in a biased perception, as if the whole initiative is Assam centric."
“Those biased individuals have made the hue and cry that once it turns into a law, millions of Bengali Hindu people from Bangladesh would be dumped into Assam and the process of their deportation would become impossible. So, whoever supports the initiative should be termed as jatidrohi (read anti-Assamese),” said the PPFA statement.
In PPFA's view, the asylum seekers are not merely Bengali Hindus, but also a mix of Rajbongshi, Hajong, Jayantiya, Bishnupriya, Chakma, Garo, Khasi, Adivasi etc. people. All these people, it claims, became the victims of Pakistan’s partition game plan and had to live in a foreign land, for the creation of which they were not at all responsible.
According to PPFA, the initiative is meant to allow citizenship for those Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Parsi community refugees, who were persecuted because of their religions practises in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and had already taken shelter in India prior to December 31, 2014, and there is no provision to bring more Bangladeshi (or Pakistani and Afghan national) after the said date.
At the same time, the PPFA says, the asylum seekers from the neighbouring countries must be distributed judiciously across the country. Moreover, those who prefer to stay legally in Assam should adopt the Assamese language as their medium of instruction, the forum adds.
“Adopting the Assamese language as the medium of official language by those settlers would help in promoting the Assamese culture and also contributing for a stronger and safer India. Their goodwill will also remove the linguistic threat perception hunting the indigenous populace of Assam,” the statement elaborates.
Reiterating its old stance to detect all illegal immigrants from the then East Pakistan (and later Bangladesh) with the cut-off year of 1951, as it is applicable to the entire nation. It argued that the spirit of Assam Movement (1979 to 1985) was to deport all foreigners since 1951, for which over 850 martyrs-Khargeswar Talukder being the first, sacrificed their lives.
At the same time time, the PPFA wants that the immigrants who entered India between 1951 and December 16, 1971, majority of them Muslims, should be treated as East Pakistani nationals, as Bangladesh emerged as a sovereign nation only after December 16 (not March 25, 1971 as often reported in the media) following the surrender of Pakistani forces under the leadership of AAK Niazi to the Muktijoddhas (forces of Bangladesh freedom struggle). Bangla father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman only declared the independence of Bangladesh 25, 1971.
Most of these immigrants were forced to flee the then West Pakistani oppressive regime, which ruled its eastern wing as a colony.
Seeking to start the process of their deportation, PPFA say, if their exit becomes impossible, or difficult, because of serious "humanitarian and international crisis, the Union government should think about offering work permits", but "without voting rights."

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