GUWAHATI, May 30: Even as the protests are gaining ground in Assam especially in Brahmaputra Valley and Hill areas against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Government of India to assured Asam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal that further step regarding the Bill would be taken only after thorough consultation with all the stakeholders in the state.
“Government of India will take any further step regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 only after thorough consultation with all stakeholders. Moreover, all efforts will be made to address the concerns of the people of Assam in this regard. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while agreeing to the request of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in this regard, conveyed the decision of the Union Government during a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday,” an Assam government communiqué stated.
The meeting was held to discuss various administrative and security arrangements related to the on-going National Register of Citizens (NRC) updating process in Assam as per the orders of the Supreme Court of India.
The meeting assumed significance in the wake of raging protests in Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley against the Citizenship Amendment Bill that has created apprehension among the indigenous communities as the Bill proposes to grant citizenship to Hindu Bengalis, Sikhs, Parsi etc. migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who had to flee to India to escape religious persecution in their countries.
Chief Minister Sonowal during the discussion also requested the Union Home Minister to set up a committee to make recommendations for implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord which provides for constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people. The Union Home Minister assured the Chief Minister that the committee will be set up at the earliest in consultation with the State Government.
The meeting chaired by the Union Home Minister also discussed the arrangements required to dispose of claims and objections after publication of draft NRC on June 30 next. Chief Minister Sonowal during the discussion emphasized that adequate opportunity is given to people in this regard and necessary arrangements are made to avoid any inconvenience to public and all claims and objections are disposed of as per law and in a proper manner. He also emphasized that a strong IEC campaign may be launched to inform people about process of filing claims and objections after publication of final draft NRC.
Chief Minister Sonowal informed that the NRC updating process was going on smoothly in the State under the guidance of the Supreme Court of India and it was on the verge of completion. He stated that both Central and State Governments were extending full support for seamless progress of the NRC updating and the second draft would be published on 30th June. He also urged the people not to panic if any of their names were not included in the drafts as they would be given ample opportunity to register their claims and objections in the courts. (Agencies)