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Ahead of PM Modi’s Visit to Poll-bound Assam, Congress Poses 24 Questions for Him

The Congress in Assam on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 24 questions on issues such as enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the governments “failure” to deport Bangladeshis illegally living in the state and “creating hurdles” in development of industry. State Congress president Ripun Bora posed these questions in a press conference ahead of the prime ministers visit to the poll-bound state on Saturday.

The prime minister has endangered the existence of the indigenous Assamese people by imposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on them, Bora alleged. The CAA says that members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution in those countries will not be treated as illegal immigrants but will be given Indian citizenship.

Many groups in Assam are afraid that CAA would lead to an influx of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which in turn would harm the interests of indigenous people. The Congress leader questioned Modi how can he claim to be a well-wisher of the state when he has totally disregarded the Assam Accord which pledges protection the indigenous population in the state.

Clause Six of the Assam Accord, 1985, says that constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. Bora said that the BJP had announced before the last assembly elections in 2016 that there will not be a single illegal Bangladeshi in the state.

“How many Bangladeshis have been deported by Modi? Why did they (the BJP) have to impose the CAA on us and bring in more Bangladeshis in the state?” the Rajya Sabha MP said. He also asked whether the BJP government has been successful in sealing the Indo-Bangladesh border.

During his recent visit to the state, BJP president JP Nadda had claimed that six communities — tea tribes, Koch- Rajbongshi, Moran, Muttock, Chutia and Tai-Ahom — have been granted Scheduled Tribe status, but they have not yet got it, the state Congress president said. After coming to power in 2014, the prime minister abolished the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion policy, creating hurdles in the way of industrial development of Assam, he claimed.

In August 2017, the prime minister had announced a financial package to control floods in the region but the promise remained unfulfilled, Bora alleged. Guwahati has not become a smart city as promised by the BJP which also sold off 27 oilfields in Upper Assam to private companies, the Congress leader claimed.

The prime minister on Saturday will launch a special programme of the Assam government to distribute land ‘patta’ or land allotment certificates to over one lakh landless indigenous people.

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