Assam May Reintroduce Citizenship Bill, Says BJP Strategist Himanta Sarma

Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said since the National Register of Citizens NRC) has already given out a number of exclusion, some statistical disclosure will be made soon

Assam May Reintroduce Citizenship Bill, Says BJP Strategist Himanta Sarma

At least 19 lakh people were left out of the Assam National Register of Citizens

Guwahati:

A day after Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the BJP plans to reintroduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill by November, he said the draft bill will be tweaked and more conditions added.

"Citizenship Bill will be moved in parliament once again, but it will have a lot of new features. It will have a cut-off date of December 30, 2014. It will be tweaked and will have new provisions and riders," Mr Sarma told reporters in Guwahati.

The bill proposes to give Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, even if they don't have valid documents.

"It will not override the provisions of Article 371, the provisions of 6th Schedule of India and protection of tribal culture, language and ethnicity and state laws. It will not override the Inner Line Permit regime in the north-east," he said at an event.

"There will be a new draft of the bill," he added. Mr Sarma said since the National Register of Citizens has already given out a number of exclusion, some statistical disclosure will be made soon, indicating at the total number of Hindus left out of the NRC of the 19 lakh.

The NRC, also known as the Assam citizens' list, seeks to segregate Indian citizens living in the state from those who have illegally entered the state from Bangladesh and other countries after March 25, 1971. The NRC was first published in Assam in 1951.

The BJP's strategist for the north-east said the Assam government will keep requesting the Supreme Court to re-verify the final NRC data.

"We have a problem with wrongful inclusions and exclusions in the NRC, we will again ask the Supreme Court for a review. It's a strong case. We will continue to pursue it," Mr Sarma said.

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