GUWAHATI: Tej Hazarika, the son of renowned Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika, on Monday said that Centre's stand on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) is more important than conferring Bharat Ratna to his late father.
"As the son of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika—one of the most popular and loved cultural and socio-political figures for the people of Assam and it’s neighbouring sister states of India’s great Northeast—I believe that my father’s name and words are being invoked and celebrated publicly while plans are afoot to pass a painfully unpopular bill regarding citizenship that is actually undermining his documented position. It would in reality be in direct opposition to what Bupenda believed in his heart of hearts," Tez Hazarika said in a statement.
He added that Bharat Ratnas and longest bridges are necessary but they will not promote the peace and prosperity of the citizens of India. "How the Centre moves on this matter far outweighs in importance the awarding and receiving of such national recognition—a display of short-lived cheap thrills," he remarked.
The government had honoured Bhupen Hazarika with the highest civilian award posthumously along with former President Pranab Mukherjee and late social activist Nanaji Deshmukh.
The northeast states, especially Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam, have been witnessing massive protests against the contentious Citizenship Bill, which is currently pending in Rajya Sabha.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend a 1955 law to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Jains and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the people of Assam and the North East that the citizenship bill will in no way cause harm to their interest.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while addressing a public rally in the Assembly constituency of Assam Health Minister Himata Biswa Sarma.
"It is a national commitment to the people of the North East that they will not be harmed in any way and citizenship will be only granted after due investigation and recommendation of the state governments," Modi had said.