On his two-day tour to the Northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a rally in Assam spoke of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, re-assuring to not destroy the state over 'vote-bank' politics.
He said, "I will not allow destroying Assam for vote bank politics. Unity and Harmony of India should be protected. I would like to talk about the Citizen Amendment Bill. There are rumours that are being spread about the Citizenship bill. People who sit in AC rooms are spreading false rumours."
While addressing the rally, PM Modi extended an assurance in the thick of protests to safeguard the interests and rights of the Assamese people and elaborated on the need for the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
He said, "All the infiltrators should be identified from the refugees. The Amendment is not confined to Assam or North East, it is to the entire nation. Before 1947 when the nation was not partitioned, the minority who were not allowed to come to India like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who were in neighbouring Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh any other nation should be given a place. It was part of India. "But I assure you that I will not harm the sentiments or rights of the people of Assam."
"It must be understood that there is a 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", he added.
He compared the Citizenship Amendment Bill to the Quota Bill that passed the legislative procedures in January.
He said, "We gave 10% reservation to economically backward classes without hampering SC/ST. Without anybody's loss, we could protect the rights of everybody, we have proved it."
The protests erupted as protesters in Assam viewed the Bill as a threat to the indigenous communities of the region, that goes against the Assam Accord provision that says any individual who entered the state after March 24, 1971, will be identified as a foreigner.
What is the Assam Accord provision?
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
The BJP is committed to implementing the 36-year old Assam Accord and a committee set up on the implementation of its Clause 6 is a step in that direction, Mod said.
What is the Citizenship Amendment Bill?
The Citizenship Act of 1955 declares a migrant as 'illegal' if they entered the country without travel documents.
While, the Citizenship Amendment Bill will be provided to people who were forced to flee from their country after being subjected to religious persecution or fear of persecution in their homeland, primarily Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
During his visit, PM Modi also swore to augment the budget by over 21% for the Northeast and announced various developmental projects. He announced Assam to be the oil and gas hub of the country and that over Rs. 14,000 crore projects have been implemented during his government.
(with ANI inputs)