"No One Can Take Away Your Rights," PM Assures Assam On Citizenship Bill

Citizenship Amendment Bill: Northeastern states are worried that such a law will encourage a flood of migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and change the demographics of the region.

"The government is totally committed to safeguard the rights of the Assamese people," PM Modi said.

Highlights

  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed in parliament Wednesday evening
  • Committed to constitutionally safeguard rights of Assamese people: PM
  • Mobile internet services suspended in 10 districts in Assam amid protests
New Delhi:

The people of Assam have nothing to worry about after the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted this morning amid massive protests in the northeastern state over the proposed law cleared in parliament on Wednesday. "No one can take away your rights," the Prime Minister wrote.

" I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of #CAB. I want to assure them - no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow," PM Modi tweeted. The controversial bill passed parliament last evening after being cleared in the Rajya Sabha with 125 voting for it and 99 against.

"The Central Government and I are totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6," PM Modi tweeted.

The Clause 6 of the Assam Accord guaranteed safeguarding local rights, language and culture.

Home Minister Amit Shah, who tabled the bill in both the houses, has claimed that the bill was only for minority communities in neighbouring countries and had "nothing to do" with Muslims in India. "I want to assure all the original residents of Assam through this House that the NDA government will attend to all their concerns. The Committee constituted under Clause 6 will address the concerns," Mr Shah said while introducing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha.

Assam and neighbouring Tripura have been engulfed in protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which enables non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens. Northeastern states are worried that such a law will legitimise thousands of immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and change the demographics of the region.

Protesters clashed with policemen in the two states, plunging them into chaos of a magnitude unseen since the violent six-year movement by students that ended with the signing of the Assam accord in 1985.

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In Assam, the army patrolled the streets this morning, news agency PTI quoted Indian Army PRO Lt Col P Khongsai as saying. Army personnel have also been deployed in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Jorhat districts, PTI reported, quoting officials. Despite this, people defied the curfew this morning and came out to protest in large numbers in Guwahati.

All train services have been stopped and flights have been disrupted. 

Guwahati, Assam's largest city and the epicentre of the protests, has been under indefinite curfew and mobile internet services are suspended in 10 districts in the state. The curfew has been extended to Dibrugarh, where protesters targeted the homes of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Union minister Rameswar Teli.

The protests have also seen wide participation from students who boycotted classes in universities and colleges. Gauhati and Dibrugarh Universities have postponed all examinations scheduled till December 14.

With inputs from agencies