CAA will lead to entry of more foreigners: Gogoi

Former chief minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi. (PTI Photo)

Senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on Thursday said the entire country and the party are against the CAA as according to it foreigners can apply for citizenship without documents which will pave the way for the entry of more people from the neighbouring countries.

Gogoi said protests against the Act are gaining strength across the country and will intensify further as BJP leaders are "yet to give up their arrogance in their quest to create a communal divide".

"People have realised that democracy is in danger and the BJP is taking the country towards dictatorship and fascism to achieve their agenda of Hindutva", he told newsmen here.

Gogoi claimed that though the term 'persecuted' was there originally but it has been removed from the final Citizenship Amendment Act. "This will lead to more people entering the country," he said.

Referring to the Congress stand, the former chief minister said that it was not against giving asylum to people who have been persecuted or discriminated against in their countries. Citing examples, he said the Dalai Lama had fled Tibet and was given asylum in the country and has been staying in it for long without being granted citizenship, he added.

"People came to India during partition due to religious persecution but not anymore now, he said adding no persecuted foreigner had entered Assam during his three terms as chief minister of the state.

Neither was there application from foreigners claiming that they faced religious persecution in their countries, he said.

Gogoi expressed surprise over BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma's claim that not more than five lakh people will enter the state after the CAA and said he had himself said that no Bangladeshis had entered the state since BJP came to power in Assam.

"The Joint Parliamentary Committee(JPC) on the Citizenship Bill had pointed that 33,000 persecuted foreigners are in the country. But now BJP leaders are saying it is in lakhs," he said.

Several BJP allies like JD(U) are against the Act and have made it clear that they will not accept it, he said.

BJP, he alleged, is trying to push Assam and its people to the path of destruction by creating a divide and hatred among different communities.

Referring to the possibility of AASU, Silpi Samaj, who are spearheading the agitation against the Act and other organisations floating a new party in the state, Gogoi said that he welcomed it.

"If required, we will join hands to ensure that the BJP is removed from power in 2021 assembly elections in the state".

"Let a clear picture emerge, then we can consider all possibilities. But one thing is clear that no party can form the government in 2021 without the Congress," he added. 

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