Guwahati: Celebrated singer Bhupen Hazarika's son Tej Hazarika has put the central government on notice on Monday over Bharat Ratna conferred on his father as a mark of protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Tej Hazarika has said that the Act actually undermined his father’s “documented position” and would be standing in opposition to what Bhupen Hazarika believed in.
“Bharat Ratnas and longest bridges, while necessary, will not promote the peace and prosperity of the citizens of India. Only just popular laws and foresight on the part of leadership will. Numerous media journalists are now asking me whether or not I will accept the Bharat Ratna for my father.
I go on record here to answer that A), I have not received any invitation so far there is nothing to reject, and B), how the Center moves on this matter far outweighs in importance the awarding and receiving of such national recognition — a display of short-lived cheap thrills,” Tej Hazarika, who is based in the US, said in an email statement to The Indian Express.
Assam and other states of the North-East have been witnessing protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which seeks to relax Indian citizenship eligibility rules for immigrants belonging to six minority religions — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. The Bill is listed for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha Tuesday.
In his statement, Tej Hazarika said: “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…”
Meanwhile, Tej Hazarika seems to be the only person from his family to have opposed the Bharat Ratna on the legendary singer as his brother Samar Hazarika is quoted in NDTV saying that he is not in touch with Tez and that the award should be given to Bhupen Hazarika as it is too late now.
The maestro's sister-in-law Manisha Hazarika too has endorsed the award and said that the award is one of the most respected awards of this nation and the legendary figure like Bhupen Hazarika, who is above politics deserves it.
"Raking up this controversy is wrong," she said.
Responding to Tej Hazarika's comment, Hrishikesh Goswami, media advisor to the Chief Minister of Assam, told The Indian Express, “The family has already heartily accepted the award and welcomed it publicly. By refusing the Bharat Ratna, does Tej Hazarika want to say that his father was not eligible for the award? Why is he sitting in the US and commenting on the Bill?”
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