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Mon, 17 Jun 2019

Northeast Today

Will Withdraw from Peace Process If Citizenship Bill is Passed: ULFA

Will Withdraw from Peace Process If Citizenship Bill is Passed: ULFA
May 12
11:46 2018

The pro-talk faction of the ULFA and four other outfits engaged in dialogues with the Centre warned on Friday that they would withdraw from the peace process if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by Parliament.

“We are currently engaged in talks with the government to resolve various issues, primarily being the identity, language and existence of the Assamese people. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill poses a serious threat to this,” ULFA’s pro-talk faction chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and general secretary Anup Chetia told reporters in Guwahati.

The ULFA had spearheaded an armed struggle for four decades to protect the identity and existence of the Assamese. “Now if that is again at stake, we cannot continue to have a dialogue,” Chetia said.

“We demand that the bill should be immediately withdrawn or else we will be compelled to withdraw from the peace process,” he said.

Representatives of the Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KLNLF), People Democratic Alliance of Kukigram and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)- Ranjan Daimary faction were also present in the press conference and warned that they would also withdraw from the peace process.

Chetia claimed that the ULFA faction has contacted the NDFB (Progressive) leaders, who are also engaged in dialogue with the Centre, and they too have agreed to withdraw if the bill was passed. “We plan to contact other outfits engaged in the peace process and launch an united protest against the bill,” Rajkhowa said.

Asked whether the outfits would take up arms again, Chetia said, “We have left that path and come for peace through dialogue. We will continue our struggle in a democratic manner to ensure that the identity of the Assamese and other indigenous people of the region was not threatened.” The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

A key amendment in the bill seeks to grant citizenship to people without valid documents from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India.

A 16-member Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal had visited the state from May 7 to May 9 to elicit opinions of organisations and individuals on the bill.

-PTI

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