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Mon, 09 Dec 2019

Northeast Today

Assam CM Says Citizenship Bill will Help Indigenous People

Assam CM Says Citizenship Bill will Help Indigenous People
January 25
11:33 2019

NET Bureau

Facing criticism from many quarters over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday took a tough stand on the issue and said that rather than hurting the interest of the Assamese community, the legislation, if passed, will help in strengthening the position of the indigenous people of the State and their culture and heritage.

Speaking during a programme organized by the ruling BJP here to publicly felicitate its candidates of the recent panchayat polls, the Chief Minister accused the Left, the Congress as well as the AGP of spreading lies on the issue of the Bill and trying to stall the development of the State.

He said that there is no reason for the indigenous people to be apprehensive regarding the Bill.

“Once the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is adopted the indigenous people and their culture and heritage will be strengthened. When the birthplace of Srimanta Sankaradeva was encroached upon why were they (opposing the Bill now) silent? Why was the government of that time mum? Previous regimes failed to protect the interest of the locals. But our government is committed to the indigenous people of Assam. Now Kaziranga and Bordowa have been freed from encroachment. This government is committed to protecting the culture, heritage, language and political and administrative rights of the local people,” Sonowal said, addressing a crowd of more than 27,000 BJP cadres who had assembled here for the event.

The Chief Minister admitted that in recent weeks he has faced lot of flak on the issue of the Bill.

“The Bill will not impact the national life of Assam. In fact, it will preserve the sanctity of the sattras and temples of the State… Say what you want. Bad mouth me as much as you want. But my patriotism and commitment to the nation will not diminish a bit,” a visibly combative Sonowal said.

“The Left and the Congress, and even the AGP now, are spreading misinformation. But one must remember that we will not allow the flame of Assamese identity to be extinguished. Those elements that are spreading lies and trying to put a brake on the development agenda will be stopped… First they spread lies about 1.9 crore Hindu Bangladeshis flooding the State if the Bill is passed. When questioned about where they got the data, they revised the figure. These forces do not understand the difference between illegal immigrants and refugees,” said the Chief Minister.

He called upon AASU to reconsider its decision not to nominate a representative to the high powered committee formed by the Centre for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

Source: The Assam Tribune

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