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Short-lived Cheap Thrills: Bhupen Hazarika’s son on Bharat Ratna for father amid Citizenship Bill protests

Prime News, Nation, (New Delhi), February 12:-Amid the protests rocking Assam over the Citizenship Bill, Bhupen Hazarika’s son compared the bestowing of Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the late singer as “short-lived cheap thrills”. The son, however, stopped short of turning down the honour.

On the eve of Republic day, Bhupen Hazarika was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously.

Tez underlined the fact that while his late father’s words were being invoked and celebrated, “plans are afoot to pass a painfully unpopular bill regarding citizenship that is actually undermining his documented position”.

The legislation seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 with the aim to grant citizenship to minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians—after six years of residence in India, instead of 12, even if they do not possess proper documents.

“For his fans—a vast majority of people of the Northeast—and India’s great diversity including all indigenous populations of India, he would never have endorsed what appears, quite transparently, to be an underhanded way of pushing a law against the will and benefit of the majority in a manner that also seems to be grossly un-constitutional, un-democratic and un-Indian,” said Tej.

Tej said adopting the bill in the present form will undermine his disrupt the quality of life, identity and power balance of the region and in effect undermine his father’s position.

“Bharat Ratnas and longest bridges while necessary, will not promote the peace and prosperity of the citizens of India,” said Tej.

A large section of people and organisations in the Northeast have opposed the Bill saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

There have been sporadic protests against the Bill in the region ever since it was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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