Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and Vote Bank Politics in Assam
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The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which seeks to give citizenship to minority communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan in India, has emerged as a dividing line in society and politics of Assam since it was proposed in the Parliament. In politics of Assam, it created a situation like BJP, which supports the bill, versus all. On the other hand, Brahmaputra and Barak valley of the state have sharply divided on the bill. The proposed amendment is for the whole country. However, it has emerged as a big controversy only in society and politics of Assam. It is because the immigration problem has remained very peculiar and critical in Assam because of unabated illegal immigration of both Hindus and Muslims to the state from East Pakistan and then Bangladesh. This unabated influx of immigrants has already brought about significant changes to the demographic equations of Assam in favour of recently immigrants and created a fear among the indigenous Assamese communities of losing political dominance and cultural identity. In this situation, the citizenship amendment bill has aggravated the fear of indigenous Assamese communities of being marginalized at their own home state at the hands of immigrants. Against this backdrop, this paper tries to understand why the proposed amendment has created so much controversy in Assam. It argues that, in Assam, through the proposed amendment, BJP it is trying to consolidate Hindu votes from both Brahmaputra and Barak valley behind it by creating a Muslim enemy theory.
Burden, Communal, Hindu Bengalis, Identity, Language, Threat.