The Rise of Identity Crisis of Assamese People and the Controversial citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti(KMSS) members protesting in New Delhi (Img Source:
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti(KMSS) members protesting in New Delhi (Img Source:

The Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016 is a controversial issue in Assam and different political analysts are of the opinion that it is a threat to ethnic identity of Assamese people. For the safeguard of Assamese culture, a linguistic and social identity the ‘Assam Accord of 1985’ has signed after the 6 years of anti foreigners’ agitation. Different scholar argued that the Citizenship bill of 2016 is launched by the BJP government for their political vote bank. The main theme of the bill is to grant nationality to people belonging to minority communities- Hindu, Sikh, Buddish, Jain, Parsi and Christian who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before 31 December 2014. Different CSO and Opposition parties of Assam Legislative Assembly have objected to the controversial bill that if it would allow citizenship to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh who came to the State after March 1971, it will violate the Assam Accord. Large numbers of protests are going on different parts of the State. Many intellectuals of Assam like Dr. Hiren Hiren Gohai and many others organizes different press meeting and requested the Assamese people to stand against the controversial bill, because the bill will largely affect the Assamese identity. Few days back in a political meeting in Assam, PM Modi declared that the Citizenship amendment Bill of 2016 will soon approved in the parliament, after his announcement a dramatic protest movement has stated in the state. In Monday the Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) an Assamese Nationalist party who was alliance with the BJP led coalition government in Assam meet the Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed about the issue. AGP President Atul Bora said in a press conference, “BJP decided to go ahead with the Bill and we have no option, but to quit the alliance”. Finally in the end of the day, the AGP withdraw its support from BJP led coalition government of Assam. Different political analyst says that the exit of AGP from the coalition government will not affect the BJP led coalition government of Assam. In 2016 Assembly election, BJP alliance with the AGP and Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF). In that election the BJP has 61 MLA, the BPF have 12 MLA and AGP got 14 MLA, total was 87. The total seat in the Assembly of Assam is 126; there is need 64 member for the stability of a government. BPF Chief Hagrama Mohilary said that the exit of AGP would not affect in the BJP led coalition government. Assam witnessed a large number of protest rallies denouncing the ‘controversial’ bill. Following the protest many protestors in diffrent parts of Assam, even in India’s capital city New Delhi, observed black day by voicing against the bill. Another interesting thing is that the Barak Valley, a bengali dominant region in the state is welcoming the Bill, that is in every aspect showing a diffrent dimension and discourse among the citizens in Assam. Many critics and intellectuals in Assam termed the issue to be far away from religious perspective, rather they see it as what they often define it with word called ‘ethnic issue’.

Written by Niaz Ahmed

The writer is PhD Scholar in Jamia Millia Islamia Univiersity in India. His study and research works concentrate on International Relations and other socio-political issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For a political idea to become 'unthinkable' from 'policy' or a 'policy' from 'unthinkable', it has to go through the aforesaid steps in the public discourse which will eventually measure it as 'less free' or 'more free' accordingly

From Unthinkable to Policy: An insight into the revocation of Article 370 with the idea of Overton Window theory

Earlier in July 2019, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in one of its reports stated that a total of 58 people have died so far in cases related to NRC

Assam woman commits suicide over non-inclusion in Final NRC