Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday assured that the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, if passed, would not hurt the interests of Assam and the North East. Speaking in Amingaon in Assam, Modi said “people who sit in AC rooms” were spreading rumours against the proposed legislation.
The prime minister is on a two-day visit to the North East. He travelled to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh earlier in the day to inaugurate projects, and went to Agartala in the evening. He was greeted with black flags for the second straight day in Guwahati as people protested against the Citizenship Bill.
“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,” Modi said. He said 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”, PTI reported.
The Citizenship Bill seeks to amend a 1955 law to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. Most northeastern states have opposed the proposed legislation, and it has sparked several protests in the region.
“We want to free the country from the infiltrators,” Modi said. “It reflects in our stringent actions against them. It is our responsibility to give protection to those who were left outside India after Partition as minorities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians.”
Modi said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is prepared to protect the “culture, resources and North East states’ language”. He vowed to ensure that long-pending demand to implement the Assam Accord will be met.
Attacking the grand alliance of Opposition parties again, Modi said: “The whole country is watching that the corrupt are frustrated at the alertness of the chowkidar [security guard], and are talking about Modi all the time. They have only one parameter to compete against each other: who can abuse Modi more. These people have only one identity, mahamilavat [great adulteration].”
The prime minister claimed that his government had completed projects worth Rs 14,000 crore have been completed in the oil and gas sector of Assam.