The bill was passed by Lok Sabha last week and is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the coming budget session of Parliament.
New Delhi: In view of the growing protests over the Citizenship Bill in Assam and some of the other states in the Northeast, home minister Rajnath Singh is expected to soon convene a meeting of all chief ministers from the region to discuss various measures to protect the region’s cultural and linguistic identity.
A series of protests have been witnessed in Assam and some other regions of the North East demanding the withdrawal of the contentious bill, that provides citizenship to non-Muslims who left countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in wake of religious persecution and came to Indian before December 31, 2014.
The bill was passed by Lok Sabha last week and is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the coming budget session of Parliament. Those protesting against the bill claim that it was against the 1985 Assam Accord, according to which anyone having entered the state after the cut-off date of March 24, 1971, should be treated as an illegal migrant and should be deported.
Thus, the home minister’s scheduled meeting is important since it will help address various issues raised by different protesting groups in the region. The Centre has already appointed a committee to assess the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and other matters related to the Northeastern states. This particular clause deals with the constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
According to a home ministry statement, the meeting will also discuss safeguards that need to be provided for protecting the interests of these states and protecting their cultural and linguistic identity.
Earlier during the weekend, a delegation from Assam led by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal met the home minister in the capital. The delegation included Himanta Biswa Sarma, a senior minister in Assam government, and some other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders of the state.
In addition, representatives of the Bodo groups including the Bodoland Territorial Council chief Hagrama Muhilary; Chandan Brahma, a minister from BPF in the state government; and MP Biswajit Daimary also met the Union home minister over the weekend and discussed various outstanding demands of the Bodo community.
Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh had also called on Mr Singh along with Manipur BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP K. Bhabananda Singh on Saturday. “They discussed issues related to protection of the rights and interests of the indigenous people of Manipur. Rajnath Singh assured them that the interests of all Northeastern states, including Manipur, and their culture and heritage will be fully protected,” the home ministry added.