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Amid Assam bandh, JPC on Citizenship Amendment Bill to meet today

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Guwahati, Oct 23: Joint Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 will meet officials of home and external affairs in New Delhi on October 23 to discuss the bill.

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JPC chairman Rajendra Agrawal and members will take evidence from representatives of the ministries of Home Affairs, Law and Justice, and External Affairs on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, an official communique said.

46 organizations call for 12-hour Assam bandh today

The JPC had earlier held two sittings with officials of these ministries to discuss further course of action on expediting examination of the Bill and to take evidence.

Meanwhile, the BJP-led Assam government has opposed the 12-hour bandh called by 60 different organisations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on October 23.

Congress is supporting the bandh and so is BJP's ally in the government, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which will organise a protest rally on October 23 in Guwahati. AGP expects 50,000 people to participate in this rally.

The bill seeks to grant citizenship to the persecuted non-Muslim immigrants of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated to India till December 31, 2014. The local groups and organisations in Assam are, however, viewing it as a move by the Centre to dump Bangladeshi Hindus (read Bengali Hindu immigrants) in the state.

They say Assam has already accepted the immigrants who migrated to the state before March 24, 1971 as per the historic Assam Accord which the All Assam Students' Union had signed with the Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre in 1985 at the end of six-year-long Assam Agitation.

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According to the accord, the immigrants, irrespective of faith who migrated after March 24, 1971, are to be detected and deported. The local organisations fear if the Citizenship Bill is passed, it will encourage lakhs of Hindus to migrate from Bangladesh.

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