Terming the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) passed by Parliament unconstitutional, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Thursday that the entire northeast is “burning” in protest against the legislation, and what is happening in the region is a repeat of what happened in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said the Congress has been trying to highlight that the bill “violated” constitutional provisions and the government was “suppressing” the voice of people from the northeast.
Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance earlier in the day to the people of Assam, the epicentre of the anti-CAB protests, that their culture and rights would not be affected, Mr Azad said assurances don’t really matter when people are being “killed”.
“By imposing Section 144 (restricting assembly of four or more people), curfew and ordering lathi-charge, and not allowing people to speak out, you are killing them. Do assurances really matter thereafter? It is same as what has happened with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. What is happening in the northeastern states is a repeat of what has happened in J&K,” he said.
“The entire northeast is burning,” he said. “There is not even a single state in the northeast which is not burning. We wanted to say this. And the government”s claim that they have given some concession to the northeast is wrong as it has not given any concessions.”
He said the situation in the entire country is very bad, be it the central or southern part, or even Delhi. “And there is a lot of voice raised against this bill.”
“Almost 80-90 per cent of the people are against this bill. They (the govt) have got this bill passed on the basis of numbers,” Mr Azad claimed.
He said every religion and caste is equal. “So you cannot make any law on the basis of a particular religion. This law is being made for one particular religion. What we are saying is it is against the Constitution and thus is unconstitutional.”
He also made a demand that the land of tribals be protected in Leh and Kargil under the 6th Schedule. “Normally, the land of tribals in northeast is protected. But, the land of scheduled tribes is not protected in Leh, Kargil and Ladakh,” he said.