Development and Urbanization
India’s independence in 1947 led to the division of the country both in the eastern and the western sectors. In the east the composite Bengal got divided into West Bengal, which remained with India, and the eastern part went to Pakistan and was designated East Pakistan, which later got liberated from Pakistan and became Bangladesh. The eastern sector also harbours Assam along with seven other states and is collectively known as the North East. Because of the presence of multifarious ethnic groups, the entire region of North East has witnessed a number of “nationalist” movements ever since independence, and in many of the North East states these are still active movements, some of which are underground. Assam has witnessed a number of agitations all through in spite of parts of it merging with other newly formed states including the state of Meghalaya that became “home” of the Khasis. Currently the turmoil in Assam has to do with the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 that has been passed in the Lok Sabha and is waiting assent of the Rajya Sabha. This Bill is highly contentious because it seeks to give citizenship only to non-Muslim illegal migrants comprising of “persecuted” Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Two issues that this Bill rakes up are contravention of the 1985 Assam Accord, and “abrogation” of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. This paper deals with these prickly issues.