IN HIS first public comments on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill after it was passed in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Assam, where violent protests against the Bill entered the second day Thursday, assuring people that their identity and culture would be protected. He also accused the Congress and its allies of spreading confusion over the Bill’s provisions and fanning the flames in the North-East.
Taking to Twitter, Modi posted: “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of #CAB. I want to assure them — no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.”
In another tweet, he referred to a provision in the Assam Accord of 1985: “The Central Government and I are totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6.”
Later, speaking at an election rally in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad, the Prime Minister reiterated his commitment to protect the “culture, language and tradition” of the North East.
“Congress aur unke saathi North East mein aag lagane ki koshish kar rahe hai… bhram phailaya jaa raha hai ki Bangladesh se bahut sankhya mein log aa jayenge… kanoon pehle se hi Bharat aa chuke sharanarthiyon ke liye hai aur December 31, 2014 iss vyavastha mein rakha gaya hai (The Congress and its allies are attempting to set a fire in the North East, create confusion that a large number of people will come from Bangladesh. The law is for refugees who are already in India, and the cut-off date in December 31, 2014, is for that purpose),” he said.
“Most of the states in the North East are out of the CAB, but even then the Congress and its allies, whose politics are run with the support of infiltrators, are trying to create confusion,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said that no one can take away the rights of people of the North East. “North East ke parampara, bhasa, sanskruti, kisi par aanch nahi doonga… Bharat sarkar kandhe se kandha milakar unke saath kaam karega (We will not let the culture, language, tradition of the North East be affected… The government will work with them shoulder to shoulder).”
Asserting that the CAB will have no impact on India’s citizens, Modi said that those saying otherwise are “lying to mislead common people”.
“When Taliban attacks were on the rise in Afghanistan, dozens of Christian families came to India, fearing for their lives. But the Congress government did not support them. Today, when the BJP is trying to bring a law to grant citizenship to millions of such oppressed and exploited Dalit, Sikh, Christian families, the Congress is opposing the move,” he said.