Senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said the draft of the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will be altered to preserve the identity of the indigenous people of the Northeast and stress on the development of the region.
There has been an apprehension among the people of the region that if the CAB is enacted, indigenous people of the Northeast will face the crisis of identity and livelihood.
The CAB will create problems for about four to five lakh people in Assam but it will ensure all-round development of the state, said Sarma, who is also the Assam finance and health minister.
"The old draft of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be changed. The new draft will give more emphasis on the development of the unique culture of North East region and on the identity of the indigenous people," said Sarma who is the convenor of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the NDA's version in the northeast.
A new CAB will be tabled in the next session of Lok Sabha and will be passed within two days, he claimed while talking to newsmen on the sidelines of a meeting here in Nalbari district.
The Bill had been passed in Lok Sabha on January 8 but lapsed later as it could not be placed in Rajya Sabha.
The CAB seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of stay in the country even if they do not possess proper documents.
At the conclave of NEDA in September, chief ministers Conrad Sangma of Meghalaya, Neiphu Rio of Nagaland and Mizoram's Zoramthanga had voiced their concern that the CAB could alter the demography of their respective states and said they wanted their states to be kept out of its purview.
To alley their apprehension, Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah had said at that time that the Centre will not touch Article 371 which grants special provisions to the Northeastern states aiming at preserving their tribal culture.
There have been protests against the proposed Bill in several north eastern states.
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