Tej Hazarika , the son of legendary Assamese singer, the late Bhupen Hazarika, who is now settled in the USA, has turned down India’s highest civilian honour the Bharat Ratna to be conferred on his father.
Recently PM Narendra Modi on his north-east trip on February 9 had voiced how a delay in conferring the Bharat Ratna to Hazarika was a mistake his government had tried to mitigate.
However, the PM was jeered by the north-eastern people for passage of the reformed Citizenship bill. Striking a chord with the north-east people sentiments, Tej Hazarika said it is not the right time for Bharat Ratna for his father.
Tej Hazarika said of the Citizenship Bill as “unconstitutional” and “undemocratic”. He also said, “This is against the secular, democratic structure.”
Hazarika stressed, “At a time when the majority of people in North East want this bill to be cancelled, conferring a Bharat Ratna to the icon of North East is cheap thrill.”
Hazarika said he would accept ‘Bharat Ratna’ if Modi government revokes the Citizenship bill.
Hazarika clarified, “As of now, I have not received any invitation so far, so there is nothing to reject or accept.”
Bhupen Hazarika had passed away in 2011. Last month, the President Ram Nath Kovind had announced Hazarika along with late social activist and Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh to be conferred with ‘Bharat Ratna’.
While Bhupen Hazarika brother has stated, “I just heard Tej’s statement. It is his decision and he has not discussed or conveyed it to us. We shouldn’t politicise this issue. May be Bhupen Da would have accepted it or rejected it, I can’t say.”