Late acclaimed singer Bhupen Hazarika was posthumously honoured the highest civilian award on January 26 along with former President Pranab Mukherjee and late social activist Nanaji Deshmukh. However, not even a month after the same, the singer’s son Tez Hazarika turned down the award to protest against the Citizenship Bill. In a lengthy statement, Tez 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, as reported by India Today.
"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 added.
Since the past few months, the northeast states, especially Meghalaya, Manipur and Assam have been the centres of massive protests against the Citizenship Bill, which is currently pending in Rajya Sabha.