Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal flanked by Bodo leaders met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday over the ongoing protest related to the Citizenship Amendment Bill across the northeast. Following the meeting, Singh assured the leaders of protecting the cultural and linguistic identity and heritage of Assam.
Meanwhile, Manipur CM N Biren Singh also met with the Home Minister and raised issues related to the protection and rights of the indigenous people in the state. The series of meetings comes amid widespread protests over the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha in the recently concluded Winter Session of Parliament.
The Centre said on Monday Home Minister Rajnath Singh will soon call a meeting of the North-East chief ministers to discuss safeguards required to protect the region’s cultural and linguistic identity. Singh’s proposed meeting with the chief ministers assumes significance as there have been concerns expressed by various stakeholders over non-functioning of a Centre-nominated committee to assess the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and other matters related to the north eastern states.
Earlier in the day, black flags were shown to the Assam CM in Majuli as protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill continued unabated in the state. The CM arrived at the river island on a helicopter in the morning to participate in an official function.
As soon as he landed, the agitators shouted slogans against him and the Union government, demanding the withdrawal of the controversial bill, which seeks to grant nationality to non-muslims who fled religious persecution from three neighbouring countries and entered India before December 31, 2014.
Almost all seven sister states have faced protests which at times have turned violent in the wake of the clearance of the bill in the Lok Sabha. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which pulled out of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, announced that it will launch a fresh agitation against the bill by taking out a protest rally on January 18 and observing a sit-in with 14 MLAs on January 24, PTI reported.
The legislation is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the upcoming budget session.