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Citizenship Bill will further strengthen Assam's heritage: Sonowal

Press Trust of India  |  Guwahati 

Allaying fears, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday said the state's culture, history and heritage will further be strengthened once the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is implemented.

Addressing a BJP workers' rally to felicitate the recent panchayat poll winners, Sonowal said to alleviate the concerns surrounding the bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come up with a two-pronged approach -- solution to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and steps to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities.

"Once the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is implemented, our culture, history and heritage will further be strengthened. There is no point doubting our intentions. We are working for 'Jati-Mati-Bheti' (community, land, homeland)," he added.

Some people were spreading lies against the bill like 1.9 crore Hindu Bangladeshis would be given citizenship and such people were the "prime enemies" of Assam, Sonowal said.

"The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will not harm us at all. Rather, it will safeguard our Satras and Namghars (places of worship). It will protect their sanctity. We will not do anything to weaken the state," he added.

The chief minister informed that around 55,000 people got jobs in the government sector since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in the state and not a single case of irregularity was reported.

"We have to now make a corruption-free state, from the CM's post to the panchayat level. Those trying to stop Assam's development, we need to throw them out," he said.

On the All Assam Students' Union's (AASU) decision to exit from the high-powered committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord formed by the Centre, the chief minister termed it unfortunate and appealed to the organisation to reconsider its decision.

Meanwhile, protests against the controversial bill continued with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) staging a 10-hour hunger strike and the Congress holding a five-hour sit-in demonstration in all the districts.

Both the Congress and the AGP, which recently snapped its ties with the ruling BJP, said their protests would continue till the bill was scrapped.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in the country, even if they do not possess any documents.

Massive protests broke out across Assam and other parts of the north-east after Modi announced in Silchar on January 4 that the bill would be passed in Parliament as soon as possible.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 24 2019. 18:55 IST