Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said the Centre would not alter Article 371 of Constitution that grants special provisions to states in the North East, reported PTI. Shah was in Guwahati to address the 68th plenary session of the North East Council.

“After abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, there were attempts to misinform and misguide the people of North East that Article 371 would also be scrapped by the Centre”, he said. “I have clarified in Parliament that this is not going to happen and I am saying it again today in the presence of eight chief ministers of North East that the Centre will not touch Article 371.”

The home minister said Article 370 was temporary in nature, and there was vast a difference between the two. Most of the states in the North East have been accorded special provisions under Article 371 to preserve their tribal culture, he added. Article 371B deals with special provision granted to Assam.

This was Shah’s first visit to Assam since the National Register of Citizens was published on August 31. During his two-day stay in Assam, the minister is likely to review the situation in the state, reported NDTV. More than 19 lakh people were excluded in the final list of the updated citizens’ database. The number of people left out comprise around 6% of Assam’s entire population, two times the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and the population of Nagaland.

“Questions are being raised about the NRC by different sections but today I just want to say this that the BJP-led government is committed to ensure that not a single illegal immigrant enters the region,” Shah said. He added that the NRC was completed within the stipulated timeframe.

The final NRC was criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, with state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and the party’s state President Ranjit Dass rejecting it. While Sarma said the Supreme Court should allow reverification of names on the list, Dass said the party did not trust the final list.

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