PM DEFENDS CAB
CHANGSARI: Seemingly unperturbed by the ongoing movement and protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, across Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asserted that India was fulfilling its duty of providing safeguard to religiously persecuted minorities from the neighboring countries — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan through the CAB.
Modi, however, assured the indigenous people of Assam and the North East that the CAB will in no way cause harm to their interest. It must be understood that there is a difference between those who forcefully entered India and those who were “forced to flee their homes to save their lives due to their faith. Both are not the same”, he said.
“We have committed to provide shelter to those who are minorities in neighboring countries and had to leave everything due to the atrocities inflicted on them. They have come to our country and embraced the idea and ethos of Mother India,” the Prime Minister said while addressing a public rally of nearly two lakh people at Changsari on the outskirts of Guwahati. He addressed the rally after launching development projects worth Rs 18,000 crore for Assam.
Stating that he has a “natural bonding” with the people of North East, Modi said, “The people of NE love me and I have my responsibility towards them. Hence, I am speaking of the CAB in this public meeting. It is a national commitment to the people of the North East that they will not be harmed in any way and citizenship will be only granted after due investigation and recommendation of the state governments.”
Reiterating his government’s commitment to implement the Assam Accord, Modi said the recent constitution of an expert committee for implementing Clause 6 of the Accord, which deals with Constitutional safeguard of cultural, political and economic rights of the people, was a step in right direction.
In his veiled attack of the Opposition Congress, Modi said, “The party which is spreading a misinformation campaign now did not show any sincerity in implementing the Assam Accord for 30-35 years. If anyone can fulfill the 36-year-old demands of the people of Assam, it is only the Modi government. I want to ask those (now talking of Assam Accord) where were they hiding in the last 30 years.”
The Prime Minister also cited the ongoing update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the complete sealing of the Assam-Bangladesh border as examples of his government commitment to prevent illegal migration of people from Bangladesh for economic and political reasons.
Modi pointed out that the two prominent Assamese who have been honoured with the Bharat Ratna so far came during the BJP-led NDA government’s regime. While the State’s first and last premier Gopinath Bordoloi was honoured posthumously during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, Dr Bhupen Hazarika, also posthumously, was named this year.
Although music maestro Bhupen Hazarika and Gopinath Bordoloi were worthy of Bharat Ratna, the conferring of the honour to them was delayed for decades by the previous governments. It is the BJP government during whose tenure Bharat Ratna was conferred to both the worthy sons of Assam,” he said. “I want to ask them why the real jewels had to wait for decades to be recognized as Bharat Ratna, while for some the honour was fixed immediately after their birth,” said Modi.
He further said the Central government was committed to the development of Assam and NE and hence, a slew of developmental projects were being launched for the region. He pointed that the Interim Budget of the central government this year has witnessed 21 per cent increase in allocation to NE states.
Modi also took a dig at the Opposition parties, terming them as ‘mahamilawat’, working to instigate the masses.
Before addressing the rally, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the North East Gas Grid, City Gas Distribution Networks for Kamrup, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, NRL Bio Refinery at Numaligarh, and a 729-km gas pipeline from Barauni to Guwahati, passing through Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim, at the same venue at Changsari.
He also inaugurated the Hollong Modular Gas Processing Plant in Tinsukia and the LPG Capacity Augmentation of Mounted Storage Vessel in North Guwahati at the same programme. ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ for the proposed AIIMS to be constructed at Changsari was also held today.
Stating that efforts are on to strengthen the economy of the North East, Modi said that as a result of proactive steps of the NDA Government, many long pending projects like the Bogibeel Bridge, Bhupen Hazarika Setu connecting Dhola-Sadiya and many other projects were dedicated to the service of the nation. He further informed that already projects worth Rs. 14,000 crore has been completed in oil and natural gas sector apart from ongoing projects to the tune of Rs. 9,500 crore.
Moreover saying that the proposed Bio Refinery at Numaligarh is the largest amongst the 12 bio-refineries in India, he informed that this would generate additional income for around 50,000 families. He also said that the projects like the North East Gas Grid, Barauni-Guwahati Natural Gas Pipeline, Bridge over River Brahmaputra connecting Guwahati with North Guwahati would revolutionise development narratives in the state.
Earlier beginning his speech in Assamese and reciting verses from Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s song, Prime Minister paid his tribute to Srimanta Sankardev, Madhavdev, Peer Azan Fakir, Swargadeo Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha, Lachit Borphukan and other legendary personalities of the state who gave essence to Assamese society. He also offered his best wishes for success of the Srimanta Sankardev Sangha Session being held at Morigaon.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal while speaking on the occasion thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conferring Dr. Bhupen Hazarika with the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.
Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also spoke about the ruling BJP’s commitment to make Assam among the five most developed States in the country.