Guwahati, May 13 (PTI) Opposition leader in the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia today urged Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to advise the governor and the speaker to summon a special session of the House following protests in the state against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

A special session should be summoned to pass a pending resolution to uphold the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, the Congress MLA said in a release.

The situation prevailing in the state over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has made it imperative for the House to pass without delay a pending private member’s resolution in question, which was moved by Congress member Abdul Khaleque, Saikia said.

Saikia pointed out that the chief minister had said that he would quit if pushed, but failed to assert that he would stand up and fight for protecting the interests of Assam.

Sonowal had made the remark while interacting with the editors of print and electronic media here last evening on the prevailing situation in the state following the recent visit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016.

“The chief minister needs to take the initiative in this matter because he is the leader of the House and dates for Assembly sessions and list of business are fixed as per his advice to the Governor and the Speaker, he added.

The 16-member JPC headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agarwal had visited the state from May 7 to May 9 to elicit views from stakeholders on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

A key amendment in the Bill seeks to grant citizenship to people without valid documents from six minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India.

Protests were staged against the Bill in front of the venue where the JPC hearing was held here as people feared that it would breach the clauses of the Assam Accord.

The Accord states that all illegal foreigners from Bangladesh who had settled in Assam after March 25, 1971 would have to be deported irrespective of religion.

However, in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, a majority of the 315 opinions submitted to the JPC were in favour of the Bill while protests have been taking place on a daily basis in the Brahmaputra valley against the Bill.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.