ULFA leader Anup Chetia and others threatened to withdraw them from peace talk with Indian central government if any law is passed to grant citizenship to Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pro-talk faction chairman of ULFA Arabinda Rajkhowa and general secretary Anup Chetia issued the threat at a press conference at Guwahati on Friday.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was placed to the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. Now, the bill is pending with the parliamentary committee for decision.
If the law is passed, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will get permanent citizenship in India subject to stay for six years.
A 16-member Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal had visited the state from May 7 to May 9 seeking opinions of organisations and individuals on the bill.
ULFA- Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) and majority people of the state have been opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The pro-talk faction of the ULFA and four other outfits are engaged in dialogues with the central government for peaceful implementation of their demand.
Arabinda Rajkhowa and Anup Chetia had stayed in Bangladesh for several years. Later, they surrendered to Indian authorities. ULFA armed faction chief Paresh Barua is still in hideout. The pro-talk faction has resorted to truce for peace talk with the central government.
Vowing to protect identity, language, characteristic and culture of people of Assam, Rajkhowa and Anup Chetia said they will protest the Bill for the interest of the people of the state.
“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,” they added.
Leaders of 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 at the press conference. They also threatened to withdraw from the peace process.
Chetia said ULFA spearheaded an armed struggle for four decades to protect the identity and existence of the Assamese. If identity of Assamese people is again at stake, ULFA cannot continue to have a dialogue, he added.
He along with others demanded that the bill should be immediately withdrawn.
Chetia claimed that the ULFA faction has contacted the NDFB (Progressive) leaders, who are also engaged in dialogue with the central government and now express solidarity with them.
Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the parliamentary committee is yet to submit its opinion on the Bill and any movement over the issue is illogical.
The main task of Assam government is to publish a preliminary list of citizens.