The Barak Valley of Assam has more than 80% of the population of Bengalis, which now has a history of emigration from Bangladesh. Given its demographics, both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress are grappling with their stand to implement the Assam Accord and Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 1985.
Agreements provided for the deportation of all refugees and migrants entering Assam after 25 March 1971. The CAA extends the deadline by attempting to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. December 31, 2014. The CAA started protests elsewhere in Assam, fearing that it could weaken the pact and lead to a new influx of Bangladeshi Hindus.
The BJP has called the passage of the CAA a victory. But in the Barak Valley, the party is struggling with its stance on the implementation of the agreement signed after a 6-year agitation against unspecified immigrants from Bangladesh. Section 6 of the agreement is particularly unpopular in the Barak Valley as it represents a number of safeguards in jobs for Assamese people. The BJP has said that it is committed to the implementation of the clause.
In the Barak Valley, the Congress, which sends 15 MLAs to the 126-member Assam Legislative Assembly, loses its stand on the CAA. The party has guaranteed that the law will not apply in Assam if it returns to power. Many Bengalis of the Barak Valley support the CAA as it will ensure citizenship for Bangladeshi Hindus.
Congress leader Sushmita Dev, who was a Member of Parliament from Silchar, said in Barak Valley, she has seen the struggle of the victims of Partition. We know what it means to be a migrant. I am in favor of such legislation, but this Act is not capable of granting citizenship to any CAA. I will support this with some amendments, especially if it includes Muslims.
Assam incharge of Congress, Jitendra Singh. One who visited Silchar last week said, “Our stance on this act is both [असम] Similar in valleys. As [कांग्रेस नेता] Rahul Gandhi has already announced, we will not implement CAA in Assam if we come to power.
Rajdeep Roy, who is a BJP Member of Parliament from Silchar, said that the Congress should learn a little more about Indian laws. Citizenship is a central issue, and the state government is a law [संसद] I cannot pass. “
Roy on Sunday raised a question whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would talk about the agreement during the campaign in the region on 18 March.
A high-level committee constituted to make recommendations for the implementation of section-6 did not include any representatives of the Barak Valley and drew a lot of criticism. The recommendations are to be implemented and suggested security measures in the form of reservation for indigenous Assamese. There is no clarity on whether the Bengali community would be considered an indigenous group or not.