* It will have provisions to safeguard NE’s unique cultural & ethnic identities, says Minister
GUWAHATI: Assam’s Cabinet Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019 will solve the citizenship issue of four to five lakh of people in the State.
Sarma’s statement has assumed significance ahead of the winter session of Parliament when the BJP-led government at the Centre will table the CAB with an aim to pass the same both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his last visit to the city voiced the BJP’s determination to convert the CAB into a law. The winter session which will start from November 18, has the agenda of CAB.
The CAB will provide shelter, protection, and citizenship to the victim families of religious persecution who have come from the neighbouring countries particularly Bangladesh till December 31, 2014.
“The CAB will solve the problem of around 4 to 5 lakh of people living in the State. We will be able to give the breakup of these people in the ensuing winter session of Assam Assembly. Out of the total people to be benefitted from the CAB, two lakh are living in Barak Valley. Once the problem of these people is solved, Assam will be able to march ahead in the path of progress,” Sarma said.
According to the Minister, the present draft of CAB will be different from the earlier one. He said the present draft will have provisions to ensure that the unique cultural and ethnic identities of the North East are not endangered due to enforcement of the proposed CAB.
When asked about the ongoing agitation against the CAB across the State, Sarma said protest and demonstrations are part of a democracy. “Since the people did not give us 100 per cent mandate so protests against CAB is nothing surprising for the BJP,” he said.
It may be mentioned that the final NRC published in August this year has excluded 19 lakh people. Many are now inquisitive about the background of the number of people quoted by Sarma who will be benefitted by the CAB. Is Sarma hinting at the number of Hindu Bangladeshis left out from the final NRC?