Assam CM welcomes passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
Guwahati: Amid widespread protest over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam, state Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday welcomed the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Lok Sabha describing it as a "historic moment".
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the convenor of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the NDA's version in the region, complimented Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying it "shall be inscribed in gold as a day of bold reform to correct a fallacy of many decades."
The Bill was passed by the Lower House of Parliament on Monday night as the ruling BJP enjoys a majority there.
"The passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha is a historic moment for us all. It will not only give relief to six persecuted minority communities from three neighbouring countries but will also pave the way for constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people of Assam," Sonowal tweeted.
The Bill seeks to give Indian citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there.
He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah "for fulfilling a longstanding commitment of India and for taking everyone along and ensuring protection for all indigenous people".
Sarma who is also the finance, health and PWD minister of the state, tweeted that the Bill will go down in "history as a glorious historical correction of a blunder committed by the Nehru-Liyaquat Pact! Posterity will owe it to PM Sri @narendramodi for this giant step".
The then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Pakistani counterpart Liaquat Ali Khan signed an agreement, known as the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, in 1950 to protect the minority communities in their respective countries.
Sarma thanked the Union home minister for tearing "into the opposition as he made an inspired speech while replying on the CAB in the Lok Sabha".
The chief minister had also tweeted on Monday that the CAB is not only for Assam but for the entire country and a section is "maligning the image of the state by spreading misinformation that only Assam will have to again bear the burden of illegal immigrants".
Sonowal had urged BJP workers to stay vigilant and check the spread of misinformation, engage in discussions and deliberations with the public to remove any doubts regarding the Bill so that they are not misled.
Protests against the Bill have erupted across Assam - barring the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi in Barak Valley where the majority of the people are Hindu Bengalis hailing from Bangladesh and are expected to benefit from the CAB.
The North East Students' Organisation (NESO), backed by various other bodies and political parties, has called an 11-hour bandh from 5 am against the Bill on Tuesday.
Indigenous people of the Northeastern states are scared that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood.
Trying to allay apprehensions of these people, Shah on Monday said in the Lok Sabha that the Narendra Modi government was committed to protect the customs and culture of the people of the region.
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