Assam: ULFA(I) warns of ‘armed revolution’ if Centre does not scrap Citizenship Bill
The banned outfit’s general secretary Anup Chetia said more Assamese youths will join its ranks and ‘the situation will go out of control’.
The banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) has warned of an “armed revolution” if the Centre goes ahead with its move to amend the Citizenship Act, PTI reported on Wednesday.
“We have already made it clear to the government that they cannot be partial towards the people supporting the citizenship bill and that if the bill is passed then a lot of our youth will join the armed revolution,” said the militant outfit’s General Secretary Anup Chetia. “The Assamese people are scared that their legacy will be erased due to the bill.”
The militant group is suspected to be responsible for the November 1 killings of five Bengali-speaking men in the state’s Tinsukia district, although it has denied any involvement. One person was injured in the attack.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016 and aims to make crucial changes to the Citizenship Act of 1955. If passed, it would make undocumented immigrants – Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis – from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh eligible for citizenship. It would also ease the terms for naturalisation of individuals from these groups.
Both the central and state governments were responsible for more youths joining the ULFA, Northeast Now quoted Chetia as saying. If the government does not withdraw the bill, “more Assamese youths will join the ULFA ranks and the situation will go out of control. The whole issue has created a new sense of nationalism among the youth and the people of the state”, he said.
Assam Director General (Special Branch) Pallav Bhattacharjee on Sunday said the banned outfit had received a shot in the arm due to growing public sentiment against the bill. Eight youths have joined the group since September 1, and as many were apprehended while they were in the process of joining it, he said.
United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) senior member Raju Barua said the government must understand that it needs to do away with the citizenship bill if it wants peace.
Bharatiya Janata Party Assam Pradesh President Ranjit Das said there is a “false sense of fear” among people over the bill. “The government in the state has not been formed only with the support of Assamese people but many others like Bengalis and several tribes,” he said. “People are being misled by certain groups who do not have support at all.”