Assam: After severing ties, AGP dares BJP to seek fresh mandate

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"A high level committee has been appointed to implement this", he said, adding that a separate bill will be brought to grant ST status to Bodo Kacharis living in the hill districts of Assam and Karbis in the plains.

"This is the biggest betrayal especially against the people of the North East by the conspirators in Delhi and all other associates who due to their greed of power chose to keep quiet and not fight to protect the interest of the people", he said in a video-taped statement.

The severance of alliance with the BJP, however, would not make the government fall in Assam. Reacting to Centre's decision clearing the bill on Monday, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said the state government has passed a resolution in the cabinet (against the bill) and "that is the most aggressive stand any government has taken".

"As the chief minister, it was his primary duty to ensure that people were not burdened with the bill". As the government did not heed to the demand, the Congress staged a walkout.

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

However, state BJP president Ranjit Dass, specifically warning the Congress and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti which were allegedly behind the acts of violence on his party's offices, said, "Do not provoke us".

Defending the bill, which he said was not "Assam-centric", the Home Minister asserted that the bill was not against the provisions of the Constitution and would give succour to persecuted minorities in three neighbouring countries as they "have no place to go to, except India". The Congress has 25 seats while AGP has 14. "We have also organised a mass gathering in Guwahati where people from all walks of life are expected to join", a leading daily quoted AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath as saying.

INPT General Secretary Jagadish Debbarma said that they would intensify their agitations in Tripura as well as Delhi to press for the withdrawal of the Bill. "If the government passes the Bill, more Bangladeshis will come in near future", Anup Chetia, founder leader of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), told Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

"We have identified the stone pelters by seeing video footage and they will be booked soon", Assam police official Surjeet Singh Panesar said.

In his dissent note, CPI-M member Mohammad Salim said the Indian citizenship flows from the Constitution that grants it as a fundamental right and the right can not be religion specific or country of origin specific.

The North East Students' Union (NESO) - the umbrella student body representing all the states - has also called for the bandh across seven northeastern states, which is being supported by the AGP, the Congress and 30 other ethnic outfits from Assam.

The issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh has spurred periodic public uprisings in Assam since the Indian government granted rights to Bangladeshis who entered the country after winning independence from Pakistan in a 1971 war.

Asked if the National People's Party will put out of the BJP-led NDA government, the NPP Chief said: "We have been very clear to the NDA that this is something we will not support".

The controversial bill would grant citizenship to select groups - including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, but not Muslims - who have moved from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and lived in India for at least six years.

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