Guwahati: Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal has called the ongoing protest in the state against citizenship bill as 'Motivated campaign' in order to derail the development process in the state.
While addressing the ASHA and National Health Mission, Sonowal assured the people that the land, culture and language of the indigenous people are fully safe in the hands of the present government and urge the people of the state to stand united to thwart the evil design of divisive forces alleging that a misinformation campaign over the bill has been launched by different groups.
He further said that it is a national policy that the people belonging to six religions seeking domicile in India from the neighbouring countries due to religious persecution would be shared by the whole country but some people and organizations have spread the misinformation and rumours that foreigners in mass gathering will fly to the state. "The false picture should not be allowed to persist as the state government comprises indigenous people and is committed to uphold the interest of the people," Sonowal said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document. The passage of the bill has triggered protests across the Northeast, particularly Assam, where people expressed fears of mass migration from Bangladesh.
Protests against the bill have rocked the entire northeast over the past five weeks, with several organizations and political parties vehemently opposing it. The protesters claim that the bill will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion.
The indigenous Assamese opposed the said bill saying the burden of illegal migrants will be passed on to the state alone. The bill also drew flak from opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha for excluding Muslims from the countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.