- No room for "intruders" in Assam as well as the country: PM Modi
- He said he's committed towards safeguarding interests of northeast people
- The bill aims to hasten the citizenship process for non-Muslim migrants
Amid intense resistance over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised there is no room for "intruders" in Assam as well as the country. The Prime Minister also accused those who "destroyed the country", "betrayed Assam" and who weren't honest about implementing the Assam Accord of spreading misinformation about the Bill.
Whereas his government, PM Modi said, is committed towards safeguarding the rights and interests of the people of the northeast.
"Those who sit in AC rooms in Delhi, who fight us in the parliament are spreading misinformation. But the BJP is committed to protecting the culture and resources of Assam and the northeast. The Clause 6, which is the soul of Assam Accord, has remained unimplemented for the last 35 years and our government will implement it in letter and spirit," PM Modi said during a rally in Assam today.
The Prime Minister promised that a high-powered committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will ensure successful implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord as soon as possible.
Clause 6 of the accord suggests constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social and linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
Those who question us, PM Modi said, are being asked by Assam where have they been for over three decades. "Won't let Assam suffer because of their vote bank politics. I will fight them," the Prime Minister said.
The Bill, which has already been passed in the Lok Sabha amid allegations of "religious discrimination", aims to hasten the citizenship process for non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha soon.
Defending the Bill, PM Modi said "it is not any state or region specific, it is for the entire country" and added that "we must understand the pain of people forced to flee their homes and leave behind all they own".
"Be it from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh... they were all part of India once, but after Partition they became minorities in their own countries. Be it Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, and Hindus, who had earlier decided to remain in their homes but faced persecution, realised that it is only in India where they can live freely. So they ran away and came to India seeking refuge. For decades, they have lived and worked here and contributed to the country. They must now get recognition as Indian citizens," PM Modi tried to reason.
He also stressed it's important to understand the difference between those who forcefully entered the country and those who were forced to flee their homes to save their lives due to their faith. "Both are not the same".
However, opposition parties as well as the civil society have objected to the Bill saying it would allow citizenship to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who came to the state after March 1971, in violation of the agreement of the Assam Accord, 1985, which sought to identify illegal migrants into Assam and prepare a list of Indian citizens.
Several allies of the BJP in the northeast have already made their opposition to the "discriminatory" Bill known to the ruling party. A former regional ally of the BJP, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), broke up with NDA ahead of the passage of the Bill in the lower house.
The government's intent to go ahead with the Bill triggered protests across the northeast. Assam minister and BJP's key strategist in northeast Himanta Biswa Sarma's statement that "without the bill, we are surrendering to the philosophy of Jinnah (Pakistan's founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah)" intensified the agitation in the state.